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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Epidemiological aspects of centipede (Scolopendromorphae: Chilopoda) bites registered in greater S. Paulo, SP, Brazil

I Knysak, R Martins, C R Bertim
Revista de Saúde Pública 1998, 32 (6): 514-8
10349142

INTRODUCTION: The lack of basic knowledge on venomous arthropods and the benignity of the clinical manifestations contribute to the centipede bite victims' not being taken to a treatment reference center, leading to underestimation of the number of cases and minimizing the possibility of a broader epidemiological view. An inventory of the centipede bite occurrences in Greater S. Paulo, Brazil, and the therapeutic methods employed, by the main Brazilian medical center for the notification of poisoning by venomous animals, is presented.

METHOD: All patient cards of the period 1980-1989 have been checked as to place, month and time of occurrence; sex, age, affected part of the body, signs and symptoms have been observed, as well as the therapeutic methods employed. The centipedes that caused the accidents were identified at the Arthropods Laboratory.

RESULTS: It was registered 216 accidents, with a 69% predominance of the Greater S. Paulo and in only 63% of the cases (136) was the agent brought in by the victim for identification. The genera most frequently represented were Cryptops (58%), Otostigmus (33%) and Scolopendra (4%). Of the 136 cases, 87% showed erythema, edema, hemorrhage, burns, cephalalgia, and intense pain. There was a predominance of accidents in the warm rainy season, in the morning and for females between 21 and 60 years of age. Hands and feet were the parts of the body most affected. The benign evolution of the clinical picture (54%) made therapeutical treatment unnecessary. Only the victims of Scolopendra and Otostigmus (46%) were medicated with anesthetics (51%), analgesics (25%), antihistamines and cortisone (24%).

CONCLUSION: The reproductive period of the centipedes, associated with their sinanthropic habits, contributes to the greater incidence of accidents in urban areas in the warm rainy season. Only patients bitten by Scolopendra and Otostigmus require therapeutical treatment.

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