Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases
versão On-line ISSN 1678-9199
BORGES, A; MIRANDA, RJ e PASCALE, JM. Scorpionism in Central America, with special reference to the case of Panama. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis [online]. 2012, vol.18, n.2, pp. 130-143. ISSN 1678-9199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-91992012000200002.
Scorpionism in the Americas occurs mainly in Mexico, northern South America and southeast Brazil. This article reviews the local scorpion fauna, available health statistics, and the literature to assess scorpionism in Central America. Notwithstanding its high toxicity in Mexico, most scorpion sting cases in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica are produced by species in the genus Centruroides that are only mildly toxic to humans despite the existence of ion channel-active toxins in their venoms. Regional morbidity is low with the exception of Panama, where an incidence of 52 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was recorded for 2007, with 28 deaths from 1998 to 2006. Taxa belonging to the genus Tityus (also present in the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica) are responsible for fatalities in Panama, with Tityus pachyurus being the most important species medically. Most Tityus species inhabiting Panama are also found in northern South America from which they probably migrated upon closure of the Panamanian isthmus in the Miocene era. Incorporation of Panama as part of the northern South American endemic area of scorpionism is thereby suggested based on the incidence of these accidents and the geographical distribution of Panamanian Tityus species.
Palavras-chave : scorpionism; Central America; Tityus; Centruroides; scorpions.