British Man Dies From Horsefly Bite. By John Ericson. medicaldaily.com. July 28, 2013. After a horsefly bite, 48-year-old Andy Battin went into anaphylactic shock and died within minutes.On Sunday, a British man suffered a fatal allergic reaction to horsefly bite. The Daily Mail reports that 48-year-old Andy Batty suddenly went into anaphylactic shock while helping his daughter ride her pony in a field outside Brixham, in Devon.
Batty, a father of four, was pronounced dead on arrival by responding paramedics, who estimated that the bite had killed him within 15 minutes. Experts describe the massive allergic shock as an exceedingly rare reaction to a horsefly bite. "Most people develop a small swelling and some will go on to develop an infection but to suffer anaphylactic shock is pretty unheard of," said Dr. Pamela Ewan, an allergy consultant at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Ewan said that Batty’s immune system had most likely developed allergic antibodies from a previous horsefly bite, which exacerbated his body’s reaction. However, she stressed that in order to suffer such a severe reaction to a single bite, a person must be genetically predisposed. Dr. Bill Frankland, a consultant at the London Allergy Clinic, told reporters that in these cases, death is usually very sudden. That said, similar cases are few and far between, and Frankland made a point of emphasizing the rarity of Batty’s reaction. "This is a very unusual case, people shouldn’t worry if they get bitten by a horsefly as the likelihood of someone being this allergic is extremely rare," he said. Colleagues at KJ Engineering and the local rugby team described Batty’s death as the devastating loss of a friendly, helpful individual and fantastic father. "Andy was a big fellow, very broad like a rugby front-row man. He could lift any weight.," KJ Engineering manager Keith Iszard said of his late employe. ‘We couldn’t believe a small fly could knock him down." According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that affects several areas of the body simultaneously, causing breathing difficulties and swelling of the tongue and throat. Given the severity of the attack suffered by Batty, an immediate shot of epinephrine would have been needed to save his life. Horseflies are members of the tabanidae family of insects. While the bloodsucking female’s bite can be a vector for disease and cause painful rashes, swellings and infections, hosts generally make a full recovery.