Mexico: Scorpion Sting, 1987
Every year, one in 12 people in Guerrero is stung by a scorpion and, as a result, approximately 250,000 working days are lost each year. A study to measure the incidence of scorpion sting suggested that rural workers are most at risk, particularly in maize harvesting between October and December. The study in 1987 also revealed that a high proportion of scorpion stings occur inside the home — ten percent of all stings occur while dressing, indicating a possible preventive strategy. Also at high risk are people in suburban communities who live in poorly constructed dwellings and households that store maize, firewood, or construction materials inside the home.
A second phase of research measured different prevention and treatment methods. Rural workers tested the protection offered by leather gloves while working in the fields; high risk households were encouraged to move maize and firewood stores outside the home, and to shake clothing before getting dressed. A new electric current treatment was also tested in 135 rural and suburban communities. The handsize apparatus, powered by a 9-volt battery, is applied to the site of the sting and a current is released for three seconds. Results indicated this treatment was as effective as, and less costly than, other existing treatments.
For further information see:
Villegas, A., Andersson, N., Martinez, E., Rodriguez, I., Lagunas, A. Alacranismo en Guerrero: un estudio epidemiológico en 20 comunidades. Salud Pública de México 1988; 30/2: 233-239.