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August 1959

Deaths from Bites and Stings of Venomous Animals and Insects in the United States

Author Affiliations

Burlington, Vt.

Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(2):198-207. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270080024003

Every year in the United States one learns from newspaper and radio reports of human deaths resulting from injuries by venomous animals and insects. Also, one encounters occasional but dramatic reports of some of these deaths in medical journals. However, the time-honored case-report and review-of-the-medical-literature methods failed to indicate the magnitude of this problem and the animals and insects most frequently involved in these accidents.

Mortality from bites and stings of venomous animals and insects throughout the world is a greater problem than is generally realized by most people. Swaroop and Grab,1 of the World Health Organization, estimated that there are 30,000 to 40,000 deaths from snakebites alone throughout the world each year. The same authors presented data to show that in some countries venomous animals other than poisonous snakes may be the chief offenders; for example, scorpions kill more people than snakes do in Mexico each year. In

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