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Mayor of Quebec town dies after being stung by wasps

By Arthur Weinreb     Jul 23, 2014 in World
La Prairie - The 51-year old mayor of La Prairie, Quebec, just south of Montreal, died last weekend after she was stung by wasps at her cottage. It is believed she did not have an allergy to the insects.
On Sunday, Lucie F. Roussel, the long time mayor of La Prairie was at her cottage near Stratford, Quebec. Roussel was doing some gardening work when she accidentally stepped on a nest of wasps. The mayor was stung numerous times on the legs.
Paramedics were called to the cottage where they administered an EpiPen. The mayor was then taken to a hospital in Thetford Mines where she was pronounced dead later that day.
Roussel, a lawyer, was first elected as a municipal councillor in La Prairie in 1999. She served as deputy mayor before taking over the top job in 2005 and at the time of her death, she was serving her third term as mayor. In the 2012 Quebec provincial election, Roussel ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals.
On Monday, the town of La Prairie issued a statement describing Roussel as "a visionary and dedicated woman" who was dedicated to the town of 24,000. As well as serving as mayor, she was active in many organizations and councils.
Roussel had no known allergies to wasps. Chantal Charron, a spokeswoman for La Prairie, said, "She was not diagnosed by a doctor. She did not know that she was allergic—if that was the case."
Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said it is extremely rare for someone to die from insect venom although there are cases in the medical literature. People can die from anaphylaxis which is a severe allergic reaction to insect stings. The symptoms usually occur immediately after the sting and include breaking out in hives, difficulty breathing, light-headedness, vomiting and the swelling of the throat and tongue.
According to Charron, Roussel received about 15 stings on her legs. Dr. Mitch Shulman, an emergency medicine specialist in Montreal, said these number of stings are enough to kill someone especially if they have an underlying medical problem such as a heart condition . Shulman said 15 stings at the same time inject a lot of venom going into a person.
Statements were made by many Quebec municipal and provincial leaders praising Roussel as dynamic and someone who was trying to change her community for the better. Flags on the town's municipal buildings were lowered to half-mast.
Roussel, a widow, is survived by a 19-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter.
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