Elderly woman critical after being stung more than 500 times

LAS VEGAS - A 77-year-old Las Vegas woman remained in critical condition at University Medical Center this morning after being stung more than 500 times by a swarm of killer bees.

Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said the woman had in excess of 500 stings on her arms, chest, face and head.

The victim's name was not released.

The state Agriculture Department has confirmed the bees were Africanized bees, commonly known as killer bees.

Firefighters were called to the scene Monday morning after several witnesses to the attack called 911.

Authorities said two police officers were stung trying to rescue the woman.

When fire department personnel arrived, they found the woman sitting on the curb, covered with bees, according to Szymanski.

Firefighters wearing special gear doused the woman with water to get an estimated 200 bees off her body.

She was rushed to UMC where hospital personnel used tweezers and duct tape to pull the stingers from her body.

Szymanski said the woman was walking along a street a few blocks from her home when she was attacked. He said they may have been drawn to something in a bag she was carrying.

The attack was the second in the Las vegas area since January.

On Feb. 9, a 79-year-old man was attacked and stung about 30 times. He survived.

In October 1999, a swarm of the bees killed a dog and attacked a Las Vegas girl who was trying to protect the animal. The girl was not seriously hurt.

Africanized bees can be more deadly because of their aggressive behavior, attacking targets in swarms. The bees have killed an estimated 1,000 people as they migrated northward from Brazil, beginning in 1957. The first swarm was reported in the United States in Hidalgo, Texas on Oct. 15, 1990.

The bees appeared in Arizona, New Mexico and California in 1994 and were first spotted in Las Vegas in August 1998.

No deaths have been reported from the bees in Nevada.

An 83-year-old beekeeper in Long Beach, Calif. died in August 1999 after being stung at least 50 times by the bees while mowing his lawn.


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