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When Was The Last Time Someone Died From A Scorpion Sting In Arizona, And How Deadly Were The Arachnids In The State Before The Advent Of Antivenin Treatment?

More than 1,800 scorpion species have been documented worldwide, including 50 in the Sonoran Desert. Given the abundance of scorpion species inhabiting isolated desert areas where fauna have yet to be adequately documented, many more scorpion species likely remain undiscovered. While this may be hard to believe, new scorpion species are discovered frequently all over the world, even in Arizona. For example, a 2 inch scorpion was discovered near Tucson back in 2013, and two additional scorpion species were discovered in Arizona in 2016. Although these recently discovered scorpion species are venomous, the well documented Arizona bark scorpion is likely the only species in the US that is capable of inflicting potentially deadly sting to humans. Due to widely available medical facilities in the US, fatalities from scorpion stings almost never occur in the country, but this has not always been the case.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center collects around 12,000 scorpion sting reports per year in the state, and this high number is due to the Arizona bark scorpion’s habit of gravitating onto residential properties where dangerous encounters are apt to occur. The last known fatality resulting from a scorpion sting in Arizona occurred in 2013, and the one before that occurred a decade earlier. However, in between the years of 1926 and 1964, the Arizona bark scorpion caused 75 human deaths, and while this species can be found in smaller numbers in neighboring states, all 75 of these fatalities occurred in Arizona. This clearly indicates that Arizona bark scorpions remain a major public health threat in their native region, but fatalities are rare today due to the advent of antivenin, which is often mistakenly referred to as “antivenom.” Antivenin is a medical treatment that can save the lives of those who sustain stings inflicted by Arizona bark scorpions, and all hospitals and medical clinics in the state stock large amounts of antivenin.

Have you ever encountered an Arizona bark scorpion within your home?

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