For epidemiological week 22, according to the National Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Ministry of Health, there have been 1,035 cases of poisoning by snake bites and 107,979 cases of scorpion stings. The annual average is 4,000 cases per bite and 300,000 per sting.

“The reality is that we human beings have invaded the natural habitat of these species, therefore it is very common for us to cohabit with them” and this type of accident happens, explains Enrique Sandoval, biologist and coordinator of the International Information Network of Poisoning Caused by Poisonous Animals (Redtox). What should not be normal and we should not allow people to die from these events, “because we have a good health system, trained doctors and the best antidotes in the world, which are safe and effective.” In this chain, he said, what is missing is communication, information and prompt response.

For this reason, Redtox launched a free application with which the general public will be able to access information and recommendations to prevent accidents due to the sting or bite of different poisonous animals such as scorpions, snakes, and spiders that, due to their venom, can be lethal to humans. With this App you can easily consult the data of the different species, specialists and hospitals by location, as well as call 911 in case of emergency.

The rainy season favors more accidents due to stings or bites

The specialist explains that on these dates the incidence is higher, because we are in the rainy season and these species tend to seek refuge and dry areas. This is how they are most frequently introduced to homes.

Also with the exchange of supplies, a greater presence is being seen, especially in some areas of the city where the supply centers and large food exchange spaces are located, in addition, the people who travel may have transported some species in their luggage. . On the other hand we have the parks and wooded areas where hiking is done near the city and that can represent a danger.

From the outset, as preventive measures, it is suggested not to store things, to try to clean constantly, not to store food outside the refrigerator, to wash dishes and not to leave food residues. When going to open spaces, wear the appropriate footwear, do not put your hands in burrows and if you sit down, take care that there is no leaf litter, where the species can hide.

Redtox brings together the specialists

In the event of a sting or bite, attention must be given as quickly as possible. For this reason, what is being done through Redtox, a non-profit organization, is a network of experts in clinics, medicine, toxicologists, biologists, herpetologists, taxonomists and epidemiologists. “During the last 19 years this group has been generating a communication and information scheme that involves hospitals, specialists, risk maps are generated and now the application is integrated, in order to have a more direct communication with first contact doctors. , specialists and even the population”, explains Sandoval.

The first objective of this resource is prevention, trying to prevent accidents from happening by warning of risk areas. Then there is the emergency part, to identify the hospitals that have the antidote available (this is growing every day); The network of specialists that the country has is also identified, today 242 are registered and more certified people are being added; information is also used as a teaching method and today a strategy is being carried out to link with the states and develop informative material, especially those that have ethnic groups.

“During this time it has been identified that deaths mainly occur in ethnic groups because the beliefs and idiosyncrasies about home remedies or witchcraft make us think that they can be cured that way, unfortunately the only thing we know scientifically to date that neutralizes the poison is the antivenom, the antidote” and this is administered through the different health centers. Hence the importance of making this resource known, unique in its kind, both in Mexico and in the world, since even other countries have approached the organization to be able to receive training and generate something similar.

Violinist spider: it is not invading, nor is it new

In recent days, the municipal government of Nezahualcóyotl issued an alert to the population through social networks, due to the presence of a “violinist spider, a species native to the State of Mexico.” On this information, the biologist explains: “Previously it was believed that we only had one species of violinist spider, today Dr. Alejandro Valdez Mondragón in Tlaxcala has identified more than 40 species in Mexico.” This also helps to understand the behavior and distribution of varieties.

He said that we still have many species to identify and classify, but regarding this species that is now in vogue in networks and the media, the specialist specifies that this species was described by Valdez Mondragón in 2019, “at that time he was called Loxosceles Tenochtitlán and is found mainly in Mexico City, the state of Mexico and Tlaxcala.

He said that the important thing here is to understand that this spider is not invading, nor is it a new species, “spiders have been here for thousands of years and we have invaded the habitat. Suddenly, information comes out that makes the population worry and they begin to indiscriminately slaughter all the arachnids found in the house.”

The biologist recalled that spiders are also part of the food chain and a link in the ecosystem, so their presence is important. He said that what we can do, be vigilant, is to relocate them, even in the new application they have a relocation technique and prevention measures that can help.

To know more:

All the information can be consulted through: https://redtox.org/

The app is free and available for download on iOS and Android. The user can navigate with his registration profile or only as a visitor; in addition to doing it in online and offline mode.

There is a Contact section where users can send their questions and photos.

It has available the sections of Species, Experts and Hospitals by city; as well as a blog with national and international publications.

It has a Help button (for registered users) to send the location, in case the person has suffered an accident.

You can call 911 in an emergency and there is a guide to apply the PAS method (Protect, Warn and Help for first aid).

Redtox App brings together the knowledge, support and volunteering of more than 230 experts, Silanes Laboratories, 280 hospitals, as well as academia through links with more than 50 universities in Mexico.

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