Approaches to the Management of Presumed Immediate Hymenoptera Venom Allergy and Non-Detectable IgE

Ervin Ç. Mingomataj*, 1, 2, Alketa H. Bakiri2
1 “Mother Theresa” School of Medicine, Dept. of Allergology & Clinical Immunology, Tirana – Albania
2 University of Tirana, Nursing Faculty, Dept. of Preclinical Disciplines, Tirana - Albania

© 2010 Mingomataj and Bakiri;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Rruga Myslym Shyri, P. 47, Apt. 15, Tirana-Albania; Tel: 00355682621913; Fax: 0035542229203; E-mail:



To provide a comprehensive evaluation in patients with a convincing history of immediate insect allergy but negative skin test and/or specific IgE results, adequately addressing the question of how best to manage them.

Data sources:

Observational peer-reviewed studies and case reports were searched on Pub-Med database from 1998 up to March 2009 using the following keywords: Hymenoptera Allergy & Negative IgE (Negative Skin Tests).

Study selection:

Studies on supplemental diagnostic tests that provided data from patients with immediate hymenoptera allergy but negative conventional tests results to the offending allergens were selected. In this work, we also included studies providing additional relevant information regarding this issue.


Among 43 identified papers only 9 of them presented relevant original data, while the other papers were reviews. In the majority of the cases, the culprit insect was identified with in vitro tests such as Basophil Activation Test, Cellular Allergen Stimulation Test or Western blot, whereas in vivo (less frequently) with sting challenge or dialyzed venom skin test.


The management of patients with a convincing history of immediate insect allergy but negative conventional test results requires an adaption of the guidelines including an incorporation of the novel diagnostic tools. Although cellular tests represent equivalent sensitivity and superior specificity as compared with standard ones, these tests still remain supplementary diagnostic tools. In a minority of cases (especially in the developing countries where cellular tests cannot be performed), venom immunotherapy in adult subjects could be taken into account based solemnly on the history of a clear patient’s identification of the culprit insect.

Keywords: Hymenoptera venom allergy, negative skin tests, negative specific IgE, sting challenge test, cellular activation tests.