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Scorpion stings in Australia: five definite stings and a review

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Despite scorpions being locally abundant in many parts of Australia, scorpion sting is a poorly defined clinical condition in Australia. Many health-care workers are unaware of the effects of their stings and scorpions are often feared based on their international reputation. Five scorpion stings that occurred in different parts of Australia where the scorpion was caught at the time of the sting and identified by a professional arachnologist are reported in the present paper. The spectrum of clinical effects of scorpion stings in Australia and the potential for significant effects are discussed. These cases and recent prospective case series demonstrate that in ¬≠Australia scorpion stings cause only minor effects. The main effect is localized pain lasting for several hours, associated less commonly with systemic effects, local numbness and paraesthesia. Most stings are from smaller scorpions from the family Buthidae and often occur indoors at night. The stings from Australian buthid scorpions cause more severe effects than from the larger species in the families Urodacidae (genus Urodacus) and Liochelidae (genus Liocheles). (Intern Med J 2004; 34: 427−430)

Keywords: Lychas; arachnidism; envenoming; scorpion sting; ­Urodacus

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Terrestrial Invertebrates, Queensland Museum, Brisbane and 2: School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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