JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Overview of the epidemiology of stonefish poisonings, their treatment and preventive measures]

A Moser, D Stürchler
Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift 1979 April 14, 109 (15): 552-5
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A review is presented of work on envenomation by stonefish (Synanceja spp.), which represent not only a danger for the inhabitants of tropical coasts but also for tourists. Stonefish are common in shallow water of reef areas by the shores of the Indian and Indopacific Ocean. The bizarrely shaped fish is often taken for a weed-covered stone and accidents occur when swimmers, divers or fishermen step on the stings of the dorsal fin. These stings are provided with poison glands. The venom has neurotoxic, myotoxic and hemorrhagic effects. The case of a 39-year-old diver is cited who suffered a stonefish stab which lasted for several weeks. Generally envenomations by Synanceja cause severe local pain and enormous swelling of the limb; systemic symptoms as usually found with neurotoxins are common; death may occur by shock, by paralysis of the diaphragm or cardiac arrest. For first aid bathing of the limb in hot water is recommended. Clinical measures are local analgesia, local neutralization of the venom, if possible antiserum therapy and intensive care with symptomatic treatment of systemic complications. The most effective prevention is adequate foot protection when wading in the sea.

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