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This article discusses the epidemiology, prevention, clinical features, and treatment of venomous bites by snakes, lizards, and spiders; stings by fish, jellyfish, echinoderms, insects, and scorpions; and poisoning by ingestion of fish, turtles, and shellfish. Invertebrate stings cause fatalities by anaphylaxis, secondary to acquired hypersensitivity (Hymenoptera, such as bees, wasps, and ants; and jellyfish), and by direct envenoming (scorpions, spiders, jellyfish, and echinoderms). Simple preventive techniques, such as wearing protective clothing, using a flashlight at night, and excluding venomous animals from sleeping quarters, are of paramount importance to reduce the risk of venomous bites and stings.

Original publication




Journal article


Infectious disease clinics of North America

Publication Date





17 - 38


Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. Electronic address:


Animals, Humans, Bites and Stings, Ciguatera Poisoning, Hemorrhage, Antivenins, Brazil, Asia, Shellfish Poisoning