19 June, 2009

Scorpion envenomations in children i Morocco

Even though most scorpions cause only mild and local symptoms, a few species do cause more serious symptoms in some parts of the world. And in most of these cases there are young children involved.

Scorpion stings are a public health problem in many countries in North Africa and the most serious cases usually involve Androctonus, Buthus and Leiurus. Abourazzak and co-workers have now published an epidemiological study looking on scorpion stings in children in Morocco. The results are quite alarming, showing that children are more vulnerable to scorpion stings than adults (e.g. that moderate or serious systemic symptoms were present in over 80% of the cases, which is a high number). This means that species causing mild cases in adults may cause more serious symptoms in adults.

Scorpion stings are a public health problem in Morocco, especially among children, who experience the most severe cases. Epidemiological and clinical findings on scorpion stings in Fez, Morocco, were evaluated in this investigation. Of 163 cases that required medical attention, 62.6% were male children. The mean age of patients was 4.8 ± 3.4 years. The mean time between stings and first medical attention was 3.36 ± 2.5 hours. Almost all cases occurred in the summer (94%) and extremities represented the most frequent sting sites (86.5%). Local pain, hyperemia, scarification, vomiting, sweating, restlessness, tachycardia and tachypnea were the observed clinical symptoms. Regarding severity, 55.2% of patients belonged to class III, followed by class II (26.4%) and class I (18.4%). None of our patients received antivenom; however, all of them were treated symptomatically depending on clinical manifestations.

Androctonus mauretanicus is probably the most medical significant species in Morocco, but members of the genus Buthus can also cause serious morbidity.


Abourazzak S, Achour S, El Arqam L, Atmani S, Chaouki S, Semlali I, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of scorpion stings in children in Fez, Morocco. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins Including Tropical Diseases. 2009;15 (2):255-67

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