Scorpionism and Dangerous Species of Mexico

  • Alfredo Luis Chávez-Haro
  • Ernesto Ortiz
Reference work entry
Part of the Toxinology book series (TOXI, volume 4)


The incidence of scorpionism in Mexico is one of the highest around the world. With more than 250,000 accidents reported every year, it has become a serious health problem. Seven scorpion species belonging to the Centruroides genus are the main culprits of the cases of human envenomations in this country. The experience acquired after more than 40 years of handling scorpion-stung patients in the Red Cross Hospital of León, Guanajuato, Mexico, is here detailed. Nationwide statistics from the Mexican Secretary of Health are also contributed. Envenomations due to scorpion sting are divided into three categories in accordance to the seriousness of the symptoms. Patients with moderate and severe symptoms are immediately treated with specific anti-scorpion polyvalent antivenoms (generically denominated “fabotherapeutic”) made in Mexico, with outstanding results. The nationwide application of the Norma Oficial Mexicana for the treatment of scorpion stings has resulted in a dramatic reduction of deceases due to scorpionism.


Serum Sickness Foreign Body Sensation Lidocaine Hydrochloride Scorpion Venom Venom Component 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Archivos Cruz Roja Mexicana. Delegación León, Guanajuato. 1971–2011.Google Scholar
  2. Boyer L. History of scorpion antivenom: one Arizonan’s view. Toxicon. 2013;69:14–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Calderon-Aranda ES, Dehesa-Davila M, Chavez-Haro A, Possani L. Scorpion stings and their treatment in Mexico. In: Bon C, Goyffon M, editors. Envenomings and their treatments. Paris: Institut Pasteur-Fondation Mérieux; 1996. p. 311–6.Google Scholar
  4. Celis A, Gaxiola-Robles R, Sevilla-Godínez E, Orozco Valerio MJ, Armas J. Tendencia de la mortalidad por picaduras de alacrán en México, 1979–2003. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2007;21(6):373–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. CENAPRECE – Centro Nacional de Programas Preventivos y Control de Enfermedades (
  6. DGE – Dirección General de Epidemiología/Secretaría de Salud (
  7. Gomez MV, Dai ME, Diniz CR. Effect of scorpion venom, tityustoxin, on the release of acetylcholine from incubated slices of rat brain. J Neurochem. 1973;20(4):1051–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. González-Romero S, González-Hermosillo JA, González RA, Flores ME, Mijangos-Vargas G. Alteraciones electrocardiográficas en sujetos picados por alacrán. Arch Inst Cardiol. 1991;61(1):15–20.Google Scholar
  9. INEGI – Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (
  10. Kubo N, Shirakawa O, Kuno T, Tanaka C. Antimuscarinic effects of antihistamines: quantitative evaluation by receptor-binding assay. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1987;43(3):277–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lourenço WR, Cloudsley-Thompson JL, Cuellar O, von Eickstedt VRD, Barraviera B, Knox MB. The evolution of scorpionism in Brazil in recent years. J Venom Anim Toxins. 1996;2(2):121–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. LoVecchio F, McBride C. Scorpion envenomations in young children in central Arizona. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(7):937–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maraboto-Martínez JA, Chávez-Haro A, García-Willis C, Rivas M, Alagón A. Mexican Institute of Social Security: epidemiological data on scorpion and snake accidents and their treatment. 12th World Congress on Animal Plant and Microbial Toxins; Cuernavaca, Mexico; 1997.Google Scholar
  14. Nisani Z, Hayes WK. Defensive stinging by Parabuthus transvaalicus scorpions: risk assessment. Anim Behav. 2011;81:627–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. NOM-033-SSA2-2002. Norma Oficial Mexicana para la vigilancia, prevención y control de la intoxicación por picadura de alacrán.
  16. Pedraza-Escalona M, Possani LD. Scorpion ß-toxins and voltage-gated sodium channels: interactions and toxicity effects. Front Biosci, Landmark. 2013;18(2):572–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Possani LD, Becerril B, Delepierre M, Tytgat J. Scorpion toxins specific for Na+-channels. Eur J Biochem. 1999;264:287–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Quintero-Hernández V, Ortiz E, Rendón-Anaya MR, Schwartz EF, Becerril B, Corzo G, Possani LD. Scorpion and spider venom peptides: gene cloning and peptide expression. Toxicon. 2011;58:644–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rendón-Anaya M, Delaye L, Possani LD, Herrera-Estrella A. Global transcriptome analysis of the scorpion Centruroides noxius: new toxin families and evolutionary insights from an ancestral scorpion species. PLoS ONE. 2012;8(8):e43331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Riaño-Umbarila L, Juárez-González RV, Olamendi-Portugal T, Ortíz-León M, Possani LD, Becerril B. A strategy for the generation of specific human antibodies by directed evolution and phage display. An example of a single-chain antibody fragment that neutralizes a major component of scorpion venom. FEBS J. 2005;272:2591–601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rodríguez de la Vega RC, Possani LD. Minireview: current views on scorpion toxins specific for K+-channels. Toxicon. 2004;43:865–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rodríguez de la Vega RC, Possani LD. Overview of scorpion toxins specific for Na + channels and related peptides: biodiversity, structure-function relationships and evolution. Toxicon. 2005;46:831–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rodríguez de la Vega RC, Vidal N, Possani LD. Scorpion venom peptides. In: Karstin A, Sabatier JM, editors. Handbook of biologically active peptides. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, Elsevier; 2013. p. 423–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schwartz EF, Capes EM, Diego-García E, Zamudio FZ, Fuentes O, Possani LD, Valdivia HH. Characterization of hadrucalcin, a peptide from Hadrurus gertschi scorpion venom with pharmacological activity on ryanodine receptors. Br J Pharmacol. 2009;157(3):392–403.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. SINAIS – Sistema Nacional de Información en Salud/Secretaría de Salud (

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cruz Roja Mexicana, Delegación LeónLeónMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Medicina Molecular y Bioprocesos, Instituto de BiotecnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autonóma de MéxicoCuernavacaMéxico

Personalised recommendations