Background: The Persian Gulf is a suitable habitat for various types of marine species. This study was conducted with the aim of determining the epidemiology and clinical findings of injuries inflicted by marine creatures in the Persian Gulf, south Iran.
Methods: In this retrospective cross-sectional study, medical records of patients with diagnosis of marine animal exposures treated at 6 referral clinics in Bushehr province, south Iran, during 2009-2014 were studied.
Results: Ninety-eight patients were studied whose mean (SD, Min - Max) age was 23.6 (7.0, 14-57) years. The majority of patients (91, 92.9%) were men. Scorpionfish stings were the most common cause of injuries (56.1%) followed by jellyfish stings (22.4%), stingray stings (13.3%) and sea urchin stings (8.2%). In most cases (60.2%), the location of injury was on lower limbs. The most common symptom was pain. Marked local swelling was detected in 69.1% of scorpionfish stings and 100% of stingray stings. Itching and hives were seen in 100% and 36.3% of jellyfish stung patients. Gastrointestinal manifestations were the most common systemic effects. Muscle cramps and transient local paralysis were reported in 38.7 % and 23 % of stingray patients, respectively. Serious systemic effects were rare except for symptomatic hypotension in a scorpionfish sting patient and syncope in a stingray sting patient. The vast majority of patients (93.9%) recovered without notable sequels. Secondary dermal infections were only observed in 1 stingray inflicted victim and 4 sea urchin stung victim. No death occurred.
Conclusion: Scorpionfish attacks are the common cause of marine animal exposures in south Iran and should be taken seriously. Men at young ages are the victims of this environmental and occupational hazard.