23 July, 2013

Scorpionism in Trinidad and Tobago

After two recent deaths due to scorpion envenomations in Trinidad and Tobago, Adolfo Borges has written a review on scorpionism in this country summing up the history of scorpion envenomations, treatment and current status. The most dangerous species is probably Tityus trinitatis Pocock, 1897 (Buthidae), which was believed to be the species involved in the above mentioned deaths.

This article reviews the scorpion fauna inhabiting Trinidad and Tobago, avialable health statistics, and the literature to assess scorpionism in these Caribbean islands, recently shaken by two infant deaths, probably due to envenomation by Tityus trinitatis Pocock. This domiciliary species, amply distributed in southern and northeastern Trinidad and Tobago, is responsible for an envenomation syndrome involving hyperstimulation of the autonomic nervous system and the triggering of an inflammatory response, similarly to other congeneric species of medical importance in the Neotropical region. Phylogeographic and venom immunochemical evidence indicate that Tronidad and Tobago are part of the northern South American endemic area of scorpionism and that their noxious scorpion fauna probably share toxilogical similarities with its northeastern Venezuelan counterparts. An evaluation is ussgested in the case of T. trinitatis to establish with certainty the efficacy and efficiency of antivenoms available in Latin America in neutralizing its lethal neurotoxic and cardiotoxic activities.

Borges A. New solutions to an old problem: Integrating evidence to assess the envenomation by noxious scorpions in Trinidad and Tobago. Carib Med J. 2013;75(1):13-9.

Thanks to Dr. Borges for sending me his paper!

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