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Scorpion species of medical importance in the Brazilian Amazon: a review to identify knowledge gaps

Jonas Gama Martins1, Gabrielle Cristina Santos2, Rudi Emerson de Lima Procópio3, Eliane Candiani Arantes2, Karla de Castro Figueiredo Bordon2 [ + show more ]

J Venom Anim Toxins incl Trop Dis, 2021, 27:e20210012
Received: 29 January 2021 | Accepted: 09 April 2021 | Published online: 20 September 2021
Collection: Arthropods: venoms and biology


Scorpionism is a relevant medical condition in Brazil. It is responsible for most accidents involving venomous animals in the country, which leads to severe symptoms that can evolve to death. In recent years, an increase of almost 50% in the incidence of scorpionism has been observed in the Northern Region, where the highest severity of envenoming has been notified since the beginning of the 21st century. This review aims to provide an in-depth assessment of public data and reports on symptoms and epidemiology of envenoming, ecological aspects of scorpions, and characterization of venoms and toxins to access the gaps that need to be filled in the knowledge of the scorpion species of medical importance from the Brazilian Amazon. A systematic search using the string words “Amazon” and “scorpion” was performed on 11 databases. No restriction on date, language or status of the publication was applied. Reports not related to the Brazilian Amazon were excluded. Therefore, 88 studies remained. It is shown that populations of scorpions of medical importance, even of the same species, may present significant toxic variations peculiar to some regions in the Brazilian Amazon, and commercial scorpion antivenoms were not able to shorten the intensity and duration of neurological manifestations in patients stung by T. silvestris, T. apiacas or T. obscurus. It is also highlighted that the toxins responsible for triggering these alterations have not been elucidated yet and this is a fruitful field for the development of more efficient antivenoms. Furthermore, the geographic distribution of scorpions of the genus Tityus in the Brazilian Amazon was revised and updated. The cumulative and detailed information provided in this review may help physicians and scientists interested in scorpionism in the Brazilian Amazon.


Keywords: Brazilian Amazon; Endemic scorpions; Arboreal scorpions; Venom; Tityus metuendeusTityus silvestrisBrotheas amazonicusTityus strandiTityus apiacasTityus obscurus.

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