How does age and location affect mortality rates for scorpion envenomation?

Updated: Nov 09, 2018
  • Author: David Cheng, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Children and elderly persons are at the greatest risk for morbidity and mortality. A smaller child, a lower body weight, and a larger ratio of venom to body weight lead to a more severe reaction. A mortality rate of 20% is reported in untreated babies, 10% in untreated school-aged children, and 1% in untreated adults, but these rates vary across years and regions.

In terms of venom lethality, the venom of Androctonus australis and Leiurus quinquestriatus are the most toxic. C sculpturatus venom is low in toxicity compared with most scorpions of medical importance.

Furthermore, patients in rural areas tend to fare worse than patients in urban areas because of the delay in getting medical help due to a longer travel time to medical centers and the lack of advanced medical treatments. [14] Fortunately, better public education, improved control of the scorpion population, increased supportive therapies, more technologically advanced intensive care units and advances in immunotherapy have combined to produce a substantial decrease in mortality from these envenomations. [15]


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