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Volume 14, Issue 3 (July 2020)                   IJT 2020, 14(3): 171-178 | Back to browse issues page

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Shahi M, Sanaei-Zadeh H. Clinical Manifestations of Compsobuthus Persicus Scorpion Envenomation in Southern Iran. IJT 2020; 14 (3) :171-178
URL: http://ijt.arakmu.ac.ir/article-1-816-en.html
1- Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Public Health and Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Center, Hormozgan Health Institute, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran.
2- Emergency Room, Division of Medical Toxicology, Hazrat-e Ali Asghar Hospital (p), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. , sanaeizadeh@sums.ac.ir
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The scorpion stinging is one of the most important medical complaints in southern Iran [1-4] where about 84%, 1.5%, and 5% of the species belong to the scorpion family of Buthidae, Hemiscorpiidae, and Scorpionidae, respectively [5]. Numerous scorpion species are found in Iran, 13 of which are medically important [6-9]. Also, 23 scorpion species are endemic to Hormozgan province in Iran. Please see Table 1 for details. 
Every year, 50,000 scorpion stung cases occur in Iran, most of which reported from Khuzestan and Hormozgan provinces [10, 11]. All of the deaths induced by scorpion envenomations have also been reported from Khuzestan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, and Hormozgan provinces [3, 12-17]. In Iran, a few scorpion species cause severe envenomations in human subjects. The most dangerous scorpions found in western and southwestern areas of Iran are H. lepturus, H. acanthocercus and A. crassicauda [13, 14].
Little information is available on the clinical manifestations of the stinging and venom effects of some scorpions in the blood and urine samples of the human victims in Iran [6]. According to studies, there are no data available on the clinical manifestations of the envenomations and the effects of C. persicus scorpion venom on the clinical parameters of the stung victims (Figure 1). Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical manifestations and effects of C. persicus scorpion venom on the biochemical and hematological indices of the blood and urine samples of the stung subjects.
Materials and Methods 
In this analytical and retrospective study, laboratory and clinical data recorded in medical charts of patients who were stung by C. persicus and admitted to the Emergency Departments of Shahid Mohammadi and Children's Hospital of Bandar Abbas, Iran, were reviewed between May 2014 and November 2015. Scorpion samples also were collected and identified by an expert entomologist.
The examined data included clinical manifestations, urinalysis results, such as color, appearance, pH, protein, glucose, blood, White Blood Cell (WBC), Red Blood Cell (RBC) counts, Hemoglobin (Hb); biochemistry tests of the blood results; urea, Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, sodium and potassium test results, complete Blood Cell Counts (CBC), Hemoglobin (Hb), Hematocrit (HCT), Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH), Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC), and Platelets Count (PLT).
Scorpion species identification: Scorpions, brought by afflicted patients, were kept in 70% alcohol and sent to the laboratory at the Department of Medical Entomology & Vector Control, School of Public Health, Hormozgan Heath Institute, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran. Identification of species was performed according to the established guidelines [18, 21], using a Nikon XN model stereo microscope. The study was approved by the Committee on Ethics in Research, Medical School, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences (Registered I.D. #: HUMS.REC.1394.83).
Statistical analyses: Graphs were plotted using Excel software, version 2017. Data analyses were performed, using SPSS statistical software, version 25.
In total, 275 patients who were stung by scorpions and admitted to the hospitals were investigated. Of these, 55 cases had been stung by C. persicus, which consisted of 28 (50.9%) male and 27 (49.1%) female at ages ranging from 2 to 57 years old. The clinical symptoms observed and the percentages of patients involved are presented in Figure 2. The results of urinalysis are listed in Table 2. Tables 3 and 4 present the patients’ biochemical and hematological parameters, respectively.
Our findings indicated that C. persicus with a frequency of 18% was one of the most frequent causes of scorpion envenomations. Dehghani et al. reported that C. matthiesseni was a major agent of scorpion stinging (20.6%) in Khoozestan province [22]. So far, 11 scorpions belonging to Compsobuthus species have been reported from the southern areas of Iran. These species are found in Bushehr, Fars, and Hormozgan areas [5, 23, 24]. This scorpion genus belongs to the Buthidae family, the color of which is bright to dark yellow and 28-37 mm in length (Figure 1) [18, 21]. There are 51 scorpion species identified in Iran, 13 of which are clinically dangerous (Table 1) [9, 14].
This article is the first report of stings by C. persicus species in Iran. The species is endemic to Iran [25] and has been found frequently in Hormozgan [23], Bushehr, and Fars provinces [25]. The most commonly reported clinical symptoms in patients stung with C. persicus were pain and burning sensation at the stung sites. Other less prevalent symptoms include erythema, vertigo, nausea, malaise, headache, vomiting, itching, and blurred vision. The least frequently reported clinical sign was edema, with the associated symptoms being fever, weakness, dyspnea, and chest pain.
Clinical symptoms of scorpion stinging are related to various factors including species, size, and age of scorpion, the time elapsed between sting to hospital admission, the age of the patient, the site of the sting, and allergic and systemic reactions to the venom [26, 27]. The results of the urinalysis in the patients including color, pH, protein, glucose, blood, WBC, RBC, and Hb were normal and no changes were observed. The urine appearance in five patients (9%) was semi-turbid. All of these patients were recovered without a subsequent renal failure. In contrast, it has been reported that the urinalysis results in most patients who are stung by H. lepturus, H. enischnochela, and H. acanthocercus showed positive evidence of proteinuria, blood, intact RBCs, and rarely myoglobinuria. Moreover, glucosuria, hemoglobinuria, and proteinuria have been reported in patients stung by A. crassicauda. Also, hematuria in patients stung by C. matthiesseni is questionable [6].
Based on our results, it appears that C. persicus venom does not cause abnormal urine changes. Also, the results of patients’ blood biochemical analyses demonstrated that the mean serum levels of such parameters as Cr, Na+, K+, BUN, and urea were within normal ranges. Thus, it appears that the C. persicus venom had no significant effect on the biochemical parameters of the victims’ blood. The results of hematologic tests for all patients showed that C. persicus venom did not make significant alterations in the WBC, RBC, Hb, HCT, MCV, MCH, and MCHC levels. Some Buthidae scorpions are known to be neurotoxic; however, no severe neurological symptoms were reported in any of the patients stung by C. persicus. Based on our findings, it appears that the clinical symptoms of envenomation by C. persicus scorpions are relatively mild in the stung patients.
The severity of poisoning with the C. persicus venom, as documented in this study, was mild. The most commonly reported symptoms were pain and burning sensation at the stung sites. Biochemical and hematological parameters from the analyses of the patients’ blood and urine were within normal ranges. Therefore, there is no need for antivenin administration [28].
Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
This study was approved in 2015 by the Committee on Ethics in Research, Medical School, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences (Registered #: HUMS.REC.1394.83). 
This study was provided solely by the authors without any other financial support. 
Author's contributions
Both authors contributed equally in preparing all parts of the research.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing or conflict of interests with any internal or external entity.
The authors would like to thank the nurses of the Emergency Departments of Shahid Mohammadi and Children’s Hospital in Bandar Abbas, Iran, for their assistance with collecting the scorpion samples involved in stinging the patients. Also, the authors would like to thank the medical records administrators of these hospitals for their assistance in providing patients’ records.

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Type of Study: Research | Subject: General

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