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A global accounting of medically significant scorpions: Epidemiology, major toxins, and comparative resources in harmless counterparts

Ward, Micaiah J., Ellsworth, Schyler A., Nystrom, Gunnar S.
Toxicon 2018 v.151 pp. 137-155
Scorpiones, bites and stings, epidemiology, human health, humans, new species, therapeutics, toxins, venoms
Scorpions are an ancient and diverse venomous lineage, with over 2200 currently recognized species. Only a small fraction of scorpion species are considered harmful to humans, but the often life-threatening symptoms caused by a single sting are significant enough to recognize scorpionism as a global health problem. The continued discovery and classification of new species has led to a steady increase in the number of both harmful and harmless scorpion species. The purpose of this review is to update the global record of medically significant scorpion species, assigning each to a recognized sting class based on reported symptoms, and provide the major toxin classes identified in their venoms. We also aim to shed light on the harmless species that, although not a threat to human health, should still be considered medically relevant for their potential in therapeutic development. Included in our review is discussion of the many contributing factors that may cause error in epidemiological estimations and in the determination of medically significant scorpion species, and we provide suggestions for future scorpion research that will aid in overcoming these errors.