JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Accidents with caterpillar Lonomia obliqua (Walker, 1855). An emerging problem].

Lonomia obliqua (Walker, 1855) is a moth from the family Saturniidae, widely distributed in tropical rainforests of South America. In its larval stage (caterpillar) it is characterized by bristles that cover the animal's body. These structures are hard and branched spiny evaginations of the cuticle, underneath which a complex mixture of toxic molecules is stored. When spicules are brought into contact with the skin of people, toxins enter passively through the injury, causing not only local but also systemic poisoning (primarily hemorrhagic manifestations). When the whole animal is accidentally crushed, the insect's chitinous bristles are broken and the venomous secretions penetrate the human skin, reaching the blood circulation. Due to the numerous registered cases of erucism in Southern Brazil, the Butantan Institute has produced an antivenom able to neutralize the deleterious effects produced by contact with L. obliqua caterpillar bristles. In Argentina, these kinds of accidents are rare and restricted to the province of Misiones. Taking into account that to date there is no report in this country about clinical cases submitted to a specific treatment (antivenom), our aim is to communicate here six cases of Lonomia caterpillar-induced bleeding syndrome that were treated in the Hospital SAMIC of Puerto Iguazú (Misiones, Argentina) during 2014 with the antilonomic serum produced in Brazil. It is worthy to note that all patients evolved favorably within the first few hours, and for this reason, the use of this antivenom is recommended to treat the cases of Lonomia erucism in Argentina.

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