28 February, 2013

Scorpion envenomation in children in the United States

Skolnik and Ewald have recently published a review on scorpion stings involving children in USA. The only potential dangerous species in USA is Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, 1928 (Buthidae). Even though only one deaths has been reported in the literature since 1970 (and this was probably an allergic reaction), there is no doubt that C. sculpturatus may cause serious morbidity in children. The current paper is important in summing up current knowledge and treatment of scorpion envenomations in USA.

In the Southwestern United States, the venom of the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus (common name bark scorpion) can cause serious and potentially fatal neurotoxicity, with young children most vulnerable to its effects. Historically, advances in the quality of supportive care have made significant improvements in morbidity and mortality. In recent years, the development of effective antivenom therapies has changed the landscape of caring for these patients. This article reviews the background, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment options for C. sculpturatus envenomation. Recent advances in immunotherapy and subsequent implications for pediatric emergency care providers are discussed.

Skolnik AB, Ewald MB. Pediatric scorpion envenomation in the united states: Morbidity, mortality, and therapeutic innovations. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 January 2013;29(1):98-103. [subscription required for full text]

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