Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Father killed by fly bite allergy

Father-of-four Andy Batty was pronounced dead by paramedics after collapsing following an insect bite

A father died after suffering an "incredibly rare" allergic reaction when he was bitten by a horsefly.

Andy Batty, 48, had been watching his daughter Catherine, 17, ride her horse when he received the bite. The father of four, who was 6ft tall, collapsed as a result of anaphylactic shock and was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Mr Batty, an engineer, had been helping Catherine ride her pony Bess at a field in Brixham, Devon, on Sunday.

Two ambulances and a helicopter went to the field at 12.30pm but could not save him.

Lindsey McManus, deputy chief executive at Allergy UK, said: "Anaphylaxis to a horsefly bite is incredibly rare. It is more common for people to develop localised infection and pain around the bite. As with any allergic reaction, the sufferer would have previously developed antibodies, in this case to the horsefly allergen, by being bitten previously.

"The body's immune system reacts on further contact by producing chemicals such as histamine, which cause the symptoms that we recognise as allergy, including itching, swelling, rashes, and in the most severe form, anaphylaxis.

"This is very unusual and although horsefly bites can be painful, the likelihood of someone being this allergic is very rare indeed."

Mr Batty had four children - James, Michael, and Rachel from a first marriage, and Catherine from a second relationship. He worked as an engineer at KJ Engineering in Brixham.

A spokeswoman for South Western Ambulance Service said: "We received a call at 12.34 on the 21st of July. It was a male casualty in his late 40s.

"He had been bitten by a horse fly and suffered a severe allergic reaction. We sent one air and two land ambulances to the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."

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