Two Lawrence County infant twin boys had such extensive swelling from multiple ant bites they were taken to a Birmingham hospital for treatment, and their mother was arrested, authorities said.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Lizabeth Ann Landers, 37, 548 Lawrence County 125, Town Creek, last week and charged her with two counts of reckless endangerment. She remained in Lawrence County Jail on Monday in lieu of $12,000 bail.
Lawrence County sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Chris Waldrep said deputies responded to a call to Landers’ residence in the Hatton community about 7 p.m. Wednesday and found Landers outside and her 3½-month-old twins inside suffering from ant bites.
“The children had swelling on their face, hands, legs, all over from multiple ant bites,” Waldrep said. “It appeared the children had been left unsupervised inside the house for an extended period of time.”
The Lawrence County Department of Human Resources was called, he said, and the twin boys were transported to the hospital by Lawrence County EMS.
Waldrep said investigators found ants throughout the house. He said he believes the children were bitten while inside the house.
Greg Randolph, owner of Greg’s Ambulance Service and Lawrence County EMS, said his crew found the infants having allergic reactions to ant bites to “more than 50% of their upper body.”
“Both were given medication at the scene and taken to the emergency room at Lawrence County Medical Center, and about two hours later, we transported them down to Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital just before midnight.”
He said he sees about one case a year of ant bite victims needing treatment at a hospital.
“Usually it’s somebody who falls down in an ant bed, and they’re allergic,” he said. “It could affect the upper respiratory system.”
Lawrence County Extension Coordinator Donna Shanklin said the culprits were most likely fire ants.
“During dry weather, fire ants will move indoors looking for a water source and food,” said Shanklin, who has a master’s degree in entomology and was a fire ant specialist in Arkansas for seven years. “The fire ant is a stinging ant with venom that is fairly common in Alabama.”
She said people react differently to ant bites, “but some go into anaphylactic shock and experience breathing difficulties.” She said fire ants are the mound builders people usually see in their yards.
She said nationwide only about two people die each year because of ant bites.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website said severe reactions usually start within two hours of the sting and only about 2% of children experience severe reactions.
“After fire ant stings, some children just develop hives all over or face swelling,” the AAP website said. “These symptoms can also lead to anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.”
According to court records, Landers has an appearance docket hearing in District Judge Angela Terry’s courtroom on Sept. 4.
The investigation is continuing, Waldrep said.