Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2004 Apr;98(4):240-50.
An epidemiological and biological survey of scorpion envenomation was conducted in Algeria. Analysis of 182 medical files showed that 70% of the patients were stung by Androctonus australis. Most accidents occurred during the morning (40%) or the evening (30%). Two-thirds of the patients reached a hospital 1 hour after being stung. Their clinical symptoms classified 78% of them as Grade I (mild envenomation) and 17% of them as Grade II (moderate envenomation) on admission to hospital. No severe envenomation (Grade III) was reported. Most patients were treated with antivenom by the intramuscular route. Blood samples were collected before and after antivenom immunotherapy. A good correlation was observed between the grade of envenomation on admission and the blood venom concentrations measured by ELISA. The venom concentration decreased as function of the interval between the sting and blood collection (t1/2 = 2 h). Intramuscular injection of 10 ml of antivenom did not efficiently neutralize scorpion venom. Inflammation was followed by measuring IL6 concentration. IL6 peaked 1 h after scorpion envenomation. This study shows that optimization of the administration of antivenom is required to achieve clinical efficiency. In particular, intravenous injection of a larger dose of a more potent antivenom should be considered.