Jack Jumper Ant clinic opens at Monash Health

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A Victorian-first specialist clinic to treat patients allergic to the sting of jack jumper ants has been established at Monash Health’s Monash Medical Centre in Clayton.

Launched by the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy on 2 June 2016, this clinic will deliver a lifesaving jack jumper ant venom immunotherapy program. This program desensitises those with a jack jumper allergy.

The Minister spoke of the importance of the clinic being opened at Monash Health.

“People with a jack jumper ant allergy are constantly leaving with the fear of being stung and facing a severe or deadly anaphylactic reaction,” she said.

“This Victorian-first jack jumper ant clinic at Monash Health will give people with allergies the critical immunotherapy they need and save lives.”

Until now, the closest clinic providing a jack jumper ant venom immunotherapy desensitisation program was in Tasmania, where the ant is responsible for more severe allergic reactions than bee stings.

This new clinic at Monash Medical Centre will mean Victorians who suffer jack jumper ant allergies no longer have to travel to Tasmania to get the treatment they need.

Jack jumper ants are found across most of southern Australia, most commonly in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. It is the most dangerous ant native to Australia with its venom one of the most powerful in the insect world.

For people allergic to jack jumper ants, a sting can cause severe reactions such as anaphylaxis and be life-threatening.

In areas where jack jumper ants are common, between two and three per cent of people are allergic to their sting. An allergic reaction to its sting can be life-threatening for about half of these people. Several deaths from jack jumper ant stings and anaphylaxis have occurred in Australia, with a number of recorded cases in recent years.

“I thank the Jack Jumper Ant Patient Support Group for their passion and hard work helping to establish this vital service for Victoria,” the Minister said.

Jack jumper ant venom immunotherapy treatment changes how the immune system responds to insect venom, with evidence showing is can prevent severe reactions and death.

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