Lionfish string experiences of an inland poison center: a retrospective study of 23 cases

J H Trestrail, Q M al-Mahasneh
Veterinary and Human Toxicology 1989, 31 (2): 173-5
From January 1979 through March 1988, our regional poison center, located many hundreds of miles from the nearest coastal salt water, documented 23 cases of envenomation by "Lionfish" (members of genus Pterois). All cases involved specimens which were maintained in the homes of amateur aquarists. A study of patient epidemiology showed the following: patient's sex 91.3% male, 8.7% female; patients ages ranged from 17 to 50 years with an average age for males of 29.8 years and 35 years for females; the site of the envenomation accident was always in the home; the only part of the body envenomated was the hand or finger; and all of the patients were symptomatic. Symptoms noted included sharp pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, nausea, numbness, joint pain, anxiety, headache, disorientation, and dizziness. One patient had a complication of cellulitis. Treatment provided included immersion of the effected area in hot water at 40 C for 60 to 90 min, analgesics, tetanus toxoid, and antibiotics. There were no deaths noted and treatment proved effective in all cases. This paper also discusses the natural history, clinical effects, and current treatment for envenomations from these beautiful but dangerous venomous fish, which can cause poisoning exposures that are likely to be encountered by poison centers anywhere in the world.


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