Pachycondyla chinensis (Emery) (Formicidae: Ponerinae), a species introduced into North America >70 yr ago, is found throughout Southeast Asia. Stinging of zookeepers by P. chinensis at the Greenville Zoo (Greenville, SC) initiated an investigation of this exotic species and a survey of sting victims. Eighty percent of sting victims experienced local reactions, including swelling <5 cm in diameter around the sting site, recurring pain, skin redness, and mild-to-severe urticaria. These symptoms lasted 2 h to 5 d. Twelve percent of the sting victims reported minor reactions, including no swelling, localized redness, minor pain sensation at the time of sting, mild urticaria, and symptoms lasting <1 h. Eight percent of the sting victims reported significant local reactions, including swelling >5 cm in diameter around the sting site, recurring pain, skin redness, severe urticaria, and symptoms lasting 3–14 d. P. chinensis represents an emerging public health threat throughout its present range in the southeastern United States (i.e., Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia). Because of reported adverse reactions to stings of P. chinensis, further studies on its ecology and medical and veterinary importance need to be undertaken.
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Vol. 43 • No. 5