More than 28 people have been stung to death by giant hornets in central China.

Hundreds of people have been stung by swarms of the flying insects in Shaanxi province: more than 230 people have been stung in the city of Ankang alone, where there have been 18 deaths.

The Asian Giant Hornet's sting is highly toxic and can lead to anaphylactic shock and renal failure.

People who have been killed include a mother and son who died after being surrounded by a swarm, reports the Metro.

A large number of attacks have been reported on villagers who work in rural areas. Residents in the village of Sanping have been warned to remain 'vigilant' over the threat, especially when out in the woods.

Many of the victims were chased for hundreds of yards by the hornets before being stung up to 200 times.

The Daily Mirror reports that a 55-year-old woman was stung more than 200 times during an attack which lasted three minutes, leaving her incontinent and stuck in hospital for more than a month.

Hospitals in the area have been inundated with hornet victims in recent months, according to Zhou Yuanhong, a health official in Angkang.

He 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.

Thousands of hornets can live in a single nest, while their sting can lead to anaphylactic shock.

Earlier this month, there were reports that swarms of killer hornets were heading to Britain from France.

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