July 21, 2014 1:36 pm

Mayor of La Prairie dies after being stung by wasps

MONTREAL – The mayor of La Prairie died over the weekend after being stung 15 times by wasps.

51-year-old Lucie Roussel was at her cottage in Stratford Sunday when she walked over a wasp nest.

She was rushed to Thetford Mines hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A spokeswoman for the town said Roussel was not allergic to wasp stings.

“She was stung on several parts of her legs — about 15 times from what we think,” Chantal Charron said Monday.

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“She was overcome by the number of stings. When the ambulance technicians arrived, they tried to give her (an adrenalin injection) but they couldn’t save her.”

Read more: Top 5 things you should know about wasps

“There’s a greater chance of dying when you’re struck by lightning than dying from an anaphylactic reaction,” explained allergy expert Dr. Joseph Schuster.

Dr. Mitch Shulman, a Montreal emergency medicine specialist, says while Roussel the number of stings may have been enough to cause her death — especially if she had an underlying heart condition.

“Think about it, 15 venomous flying insects all striking at about the same time . . that’s a tremendous amount of venom to hit someone’s system with,” he said in an interview.

Roussel was first elected as a municipal councillor in November 1999 and was elected mayor for three terms in 2005.

Flags in La Prairie were lowered to half-mast on Monday, and the city will announce details for her funeral at a later date.

Jean Bergeron, the town’s director-general, said he was in a “state of shock.”

“Losing someone in such a way is difficult,” he said. “It’s traumatic.”

“It’s tragic. It’s not something you expect,” said City Councillor Marie-Eve Plante-Hebert.  “I would not think of that happening. Especially to her.”

Roussel leaves behind two children, 19-year-old Antonin and 18-year-old Constance.

With files from the Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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