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Public health

Beware of scorpions, spiders, and lionfish

There were 1.1 million accidents involving scorpions in the country between 2007 and 2019

Eduardo Cesar / Revista Pesquisa FAPESP

Between 2007 and 2019, there were 2.1 million accidents involving venomous animals in Brazil. There were an average of 175,000 incidents per year—480 every day—according to a survey coordinated by Leonardo Kohara Melchior, a veterinarian from the Federal University of Acre (Epidemiologia e Serviços de Saúde, November). Most involved scorpions (1.1 million cases), mainly in the Northeast and Southeast of the country. Snakes were the second leading cause of accidents, with a total of 365,000 cases, followed by spiders with 363,000 cases—two-thirds of which occurred in southern Brazil. The number of accidents involving venomous animals trended upwards in the years studied, with the exception of snake bites. In another study, scientists from São Paulo State University (UNESP) and the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) reported on Brazil’s first case of poisoning by a wild lionfish (Pterois spp.). Originally from the Indo-Pacific, the species has been spreading along the Brazilian coast (Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, October).