Death toll climbs in hornet attacks

HONG KONG — Swarms of aggressive hornets, in their fall mating season, are inflicting a deadly toll in a central Chinese province.

Hornets have killed 42 people and injured 1,675 people in three cities in Shaanxi province since July, according to the local government. Thirty-seven patients remain in critical or serious condition.

Over the summer and early fall, hornets have invaded schools full of children and descended upon unsuspecting farm workers in China.

One of them is Mu Conghui, a woman who was attacked in Ankang City while looking after her millet crop.

asian-killer-hornet-story-top“The hornets were horrifying,” she told Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency. “They hit right at my head and covered my legs. All of a sudden I was stung and I couldn’t move.

“Even now, my legs are covered with sting holes.”

Two months, 13 dialysis treatments and 200 stitches later, Mu still remains hospitalized and unable to move her legs.

The influx of venom to the human body can cause allergic reactions and multiple organ failure leading to death. Patients like Mu have been receiving dialysis to remove the toxins from her body. In photos, patients bore deep dark craters scattered across their limbs, the size of bullet wounds.

Government authorities say these attacks are from a particularly venomous species, the world’s largest hornet, known as the Asian giant hornet or vespa mandarinia.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

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