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[Centipede (Scolopendra sp.) envenomation in a rural village of semi-arid region from Falcon State, Venezuela]

María Acosta, Dalmiro Cazorla
Revista de Investigación Clínica; Organo del Hospital de Enfermedades de la Nutrición 2004, 56 (6): 712-7
15791907

INTRODUCTION: Centipedes are invertebrate animals belonging to Phylum Arthropoda, Class Chilopoda, with a first pair of front legs that has been modified to form large, poisonous fangs connected to venomous glands. Likely, due to relatively benignity of the clinical manifestations, in Venezuela studies and research on centipede envenomation are virtually scarse.

AIM: The objective of this work was to study, biological, clinical, epidemiological and treatment profiles of envenomation caused by centipedes from Río Seco town, semi-arid area of Falcon State, Venezuelan north-western region.

METHODS: Between August 2001 and July 2002, patients who referred centipede attack were attended in ambulatory emergency. These were clinically examined, and by means of anamnesis the site and time of bite were recorded. The centipede was collected for identification. Ringer solution and non steroid analgesic plus hidrocortisone (500 mg, one doses) were administered parenterally and intravenously, respectively. In one case with abscess, the patient received intravenously antibiotic therapy for 3 days plus orally for 4 days (500 mg every 6 hours).

RESULTS: It was registered 17 cases bitten by Scolopendra sp., aged 3-52 years, 9 females and 8 males, with an estimated Incidence Density (ID) of 1.34/100 persons/year. The majority of the accidents prevailed in the dry season (100%), inside the home (70.59%), during the night (52.94%) and on the hands (29.41%). Most clinical manifestations were local: hyperthermia (100%), pain (64.7%) and paresthesias (52.94%). The majority of the patients resolved symptoms quickly between 2-24 hours after cessation of the treatment (analgesic + hydrocortisone).

CONCLUSION: Due to be expected an ID between 1.28 x 10(-12) and 0.010 (X = 0.0021)/100 persons/year, thus envenomation rate at Rio Seco, Falcon State, Venezuela, can be considered of "very high" or epidemic. Sinanthropic and domestic habits of scolopendromorphae centipedes increase the frequency of stings. Only symptomatic therapeutical treatment was required.

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