Epidemiology of scorpionism: a global appraisal

Acta Trop. 2008 Aug;107(2):71-9. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2008.05.021. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


The scorpionism is an actual public health problem in several parts of the world because, either incidence, or severity of envenomations is high and managed with difficulty by health services, or for these two reasons at the same time. The treatment of scorpion envenomation is complex and controversial, in particular regarding the utility of the antivenoms and symptomatic treatments that must be associated. The authors reviewed the literature of last 30 years to discuss the epidemiologic importance of scorpionism and to point out the principal therapeutic or preventive measures. According to the most recent studies, seven areas were identified as at risk: north-Saharan Africa, Sahelian Africa, South Africa, Near and Middle-East, South India, Mexico and South Latin America, east of the Andes. These involve 2.3 billion at risk population. The annual number of scorpion stings exceeds 1.2 million leading to more than 3250 deaths (0.27%). Although adults are more often concerned, children experience more severe envenomations and among them, mortality is higher. Improvement of therapeutic management would reduce the lethality very significantly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antivenins / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Scorpion Stings / diagnosis
  • Scorpion Stings / epidemiology*
  • Scorpion Stings / therapy
  • Scorpion Venoms / adverse effects*
  • Scorpion Venoms / chemistry
  • Scorpions*


  • Antivenins
  • Scorpion Venoms