Hornet attack
© AlamyThis year has been unusually severe for hornet attacks in Shaanxi province, possibly because of weather changes, says a local health official.
An unusual spate of hornet attacks in central China has killed at least 18 people.

Zhou Yuanhong, a health official in the city of Angkang, in Shaanxi province, said more than 100 people in the area had been stung by swarms of the insects in recent months and treated at hospital, and that 18 of them died.

The local state-run newspaper Huashangbao reported that 21 had died in hospitals.

Zhou said 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 vigilant if they go into the woods.