14 January, 2013

Scorpion envenomations in Pygmies from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The effects of scorpion stings from sub-Saharan species have been considered mild, but little is actually known about scorpionism in western and central areas of Africa. Mudiandambu Biezakala and co-workers have now published an article presenting the results of a survey of scorpion stings among Pygmies in an area of the DRC.

Interestingly, a few deaths were recorded and also dermatological symptoms similar to those observed in Hemiscorpius lepturus in Iran. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to identify the species that may cause serious morbidity in this area (Uroplectes is mentioned and the paper has a picture that looks very much like a male Lychas [Update: Its a male Isometrus maculatus according to Rolando Teruel]). More studies on the scorpion fauna and its potential risk for humans are obviously necessary in this area.

In a survey among the pygmies of central Democratic Republic of Congo, the incidence of scorpion stings seemed very high with a severity greater than expected. Species responsible were not identified. Specific studies are needed to clarify the risk emerging in the equatorial African forest.

Biezakala ME, Odio WT, Kabele NC, Tati KR, Mbanzulu MK. Scorpion envenomation in pygmies from Democratic Republic of Congo, the example of Pelenge Center, Lomela, DRC. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2012;18(4):451-4. [Free full text]

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