What is it about?

The presence of scorpions in Brazilian urban centers has been increasing over the last decade and has led to an important augmentation in the number of human accidents in this country. This review aimed to better understand this scorpionism epidemic in Brazil, analyzing the evolution and dynamics of the accidents per region, the victim’s profile, and the outcomes of the resulting reported cases. The main scorpion species related to these accidents were reviewed, but emerging threatening species are also pointed and discussed. Considering this current medical emergency, it would be expected to have more preventive measures being proposed by the political and scientific community, but this has not been observed. Therefore, this work also suggests different fields that could be important points of action to reduce and contain problems related to scorpionism. These recommendations ranges from improvements in housing and education in all levels to chemical, biological, and genetic forms of control of scorpion populations. The effort made in this review intended to call attention to the scorpion problem in Brazil and to be part of the solution.

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Why is it important?

The scientific knowledge on scorpions regarding their ecology, venom composition, envenomation pathophysiology, and treatment options has much advanced in the past years. However, in this same period, the number of scorpion accidents and the geographical distribution of several noxious species has substantially increased in Brazil. This mismatch between research advances and the reality of scorpionism as a health problem reveals that the important efforts made by researchers are not being fully translated to solve this issue. Moreover, research fields important to contain scorpionism, such as accident prevention and pest control, have been disregarded and with no innovations presented. As climate change and deforestation are rising and severely impacting Brazilian biomes, which seems to also affect scorpion fauna, we can foresee that scorpionism can have an even larger boom in the near future, if nothing is done to contain it. Therefore, this review aimed to call attention to these topics, expecting that the scientific community can come together with policy makers and the general population to avoid the situation to become even more critical than it already is.


This review aims to point some possible fields of research that could help to contain the aggravation of the current scorpionism landscape in Brazil.

Ana Luiza Paiva
Fundação Ezequiel Dias

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This page is a summary of: Scorpion envenomation in Brazil: Current scenario and perspectives for containing an increasing health problem, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, February 2023, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0011069.
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