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Wilderness Environ Med. 1996 Nov;7(4):291-6.

Lionfish envenomations in an urban wilderness.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612, USA


Marine envenomations are commonly encountered along coastal regions of the United States. Although less frequent, marine bites and stings do occur in landlocked locales, such as the Midwest, because of an increased interest in keeping these exotic creatures as pets. We report 33 cases of envenomations by captive lionfish (Pterois volitans) called to a regional Chicago poison control center over a 2-year period. All stings were accidental, and 10 (30%) were treated in an emergency department. The wounds were uniformly on the hand, and all presented with local, intense pain. The majority of envenomations were responsive to prompt immersion in nonscalding water within 90 min, and all were advised on tetanus prophylaxis and local wound care. Two patients (6%) required hospitalization. In all cases, those patients envenomated recovered without permanent sequelae. As a result of increasing encounters with lionfish as pets, health care providers. regardless of their locale, should be familiar with the current treatment recommendations.

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