Scorpion Stings and Antivenom Use in Arizona

Published:February 21, 2021DOI:



      Arizona's rugged desert landscape harbors many venomous animals, including a small nocturnal scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, whose venom can cause severe neuromotor disturbance. An effective antivenom is available at selected health care facilities in the state.


      We analyzed 4398 calls of scorpion stings to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center (APDIC) in Tucson over a period of 3 years, from January 2017 to December 2019.


      We followed 1952 (44.4%) of the victims to resolution. We excluded 2253 callers with minimal effects of the sting and 193 victims with possible toxic effects who were lost to follow-up. The most common complaints among callers were pain at the sting site in 88.9% and local numbness in 62.2%. Detailed clinical information was obtained from 593 calls from a health care facility. Neuromotor signs consistent with C. sculpuratus envenomation included nystagmus in 163 (27.5%), hypersalivation in 91 (15.3%), and fasciculations in 88 (14.8%). Antivenom (Anascorp; Rare Disease Therapeutics, Inc., Franklin, Tenn) was administered to 145 patients. Most were children <5 years old (n = 76, or 54.4%); 27 (18.6%) were 5-9 years old and 42 (30.0%) were ≥10 years of age. About half, 79 of 145 (54.5%) victims who received antivenom, met the APDIC recommended use criteria.


      Patients treated with antivenom exhibited a rapid resolution of symptoms without immediate or delayed hypersensitivity reactions. We recommend broadened availability of antivenom at sites where it is most needed.


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