Zhou Yuanhong, a health official in the Angkang city area of Shaanxi province, said Thursday that more than 100 people in the area had been stung by swarms of the insects in recent months and treated in Ankang City Central Hospital, and that 18 of them died.
The local state-run newspaper Huashangbao said 21 had died in hospitals.
Zhou said that a handful of people are killed every year in the region by hornets, especially in forested areas, but that this year has been unusually severe, possibly because of weather changes.
In the affected village of Sanping, local official Wang Zhengcai said people have been warned `'to be very vigilant while in the woods."
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