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Abstract

A scorpion species proved to be lethal to humans was recently recorded from Jaffna Peninsula (9°40'0''N 80°0'0''E, mean annual temperature 26.2°C), in the northern dry zone of Sri Lanka. This species is morphologically different from all other known scorpions in Sri Lanka. The species was identified as Hottentotta tamulus (Scorpiones: Buthidae), which is commonly found in Maharashtra, India, the closest mainland to Sri Lanka. Small children and housewives were most of the victims. Soon after sting, the patient develops intense pain at the site of sting followed by numbed sensation. Dominant clinical effects include excessive sweating, agitation and palpitation. Blood pressure of the victim goes up, and if not promptly treated leads to acute heart failure. There is a high risk of spreading of this species to the rest of the country due to transport of goods and sand from the area.

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