In a shocking incident, a Kerala woman residing in Riyadh died on Tuesday, after a venomous ant reportedly bit her.
36-year-old Susy Jeffy had been admitted to the ICU of Obeid Hospital in Riyadh two weeks ago, after she went into anaphylactic shock.
According to sources close to the family, Susy was at home when she complained that something had stung or bitten her. While her husband Jeffy Mathew spotted an ant and subsequently threw it out, Susy's body soon began to swell up. Following this, she began to have breathing difficulties and gasped for breath.
Obeid hospital officials told TNM that Susy was brought in on March 19 after she went into an anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock is an extreme, often life-threatening allergic reaction to an antigen to which the body has become hypersensitive.
It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you're allergic to, such as peanuts or bee stings.
Anaphylaxis can happen within seconds or minutes of exposure to something that one is allergic to including bee or ant stings, medications, certain foods, latex or even peanut butter. The extreme allergic reaction will make blood pressure drop suddenly and create breathing difficulties. If not treated immediately, it can turn fatal.
According to hospital officials, Susy's blood pressure level and pulse were precariously low when she was admitted to the hospital.
"Her family said that she was bitten by some kind of an ant, the husband said he had seen the ant himself. But we cannot verify this, since no tests could be done to verify if there was poison in her body. There was no visible bite mark. She had a history of asthma. We gave her medical help to improve her BP, she was on ventilator support," a hospital official said.
The official also told TNM that a few weeks ago; another person had been admitted in almost the same state to the hospital.
“Another person who had gone into anaphylactic shock was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago. In that case too the relatives had said that it was an ant bite that caused the shock. That patient too died,” the official said.
According to Manorama, Susy is a native of Adoor, while her husband Jeffy belongs to Pathanamthitta district.
Although it is unclear what kind of ant bit Susy and the details of her medical treatment is yet to be known, reports say that the venom of certain ants including red fire ants could prove to be fatal to those allergic.
Earlier in January 2017, a woman died in Bolivia, after she was tied to a tree infested with poisonous fire ants. The woman who was accused of stealing a car, was forcefully tied to the tree by a mob. Mirror.uk reported that although the woman was rescued by the police, she died of breathing difficulties.
According to the report, the tiny insects chewed on her windpipe, resulting in severe swelling that closed her airway.