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.

“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

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“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