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There seems to be a tie in what people are freaking out about in Argentina, with scorpion attacks going neck to neck with political developments in the United States today.

Given the recent news that scorpion attacks have resulted in two child fatalities in Córdoba and the hospitalisation of a five-year-old boy in Buenos Aires, after being stung in his bed in Palermo, it’s hardly surprising that people are kicking up a fuss. However, according to Adolfo de Roodt, a specialist from the Malbrán Institute, our panic is unsubstantiated: “The little boy was affected in a serious case, but we’ve had scorpions for decades and, before this, we had only had one case that required treatment” in the city of Buenos Aires.

Roodt, who is also a professor of Toxicology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), explained to Página12 that “recently, in 2009, we had a moderate case of a little girl and now this boy, but they’re rare cases.”

“We do have more findings now, perhaps because of the media impact. In the past, cases were dismissed and thrown in the trash; now they are collected and registered,” explained the specialist. “We are within what would be expected (statistically-speaking), but since the case was made public on Monday, there’s been an influx of consultations.”

An example of a Tityus trivittatus, the most toxic species in Argentina. Photo via La Nación

Between 1993 and 1999, only three deaths were registered; from 1999 to 2006, 20; and between 2006 and 2016, just over 50 were recorded throughout the whole country, and not a single one in the city of Buenos Aires.

Concerning these statistics, Roodt remarked: “There’s been inconsistency through the years, but it was recorded in the provinces, in the north, and in Santa Fe, where between 2002 and 2003, the Alassia hospital started to observe deaths. They had the same problem in Rosario, but not in the city.”

So, how likely is it that a sting from one of these pesky arachnids will result in a fatality? Not very! According to the specialist, in the last 10 years, there were 88,000 cases of people getting stung by a scorpion in Argentina and only 50 deaths were recorded.

As far as the expert is concerned, there’s no point in moving houses to get away from areas of the city that are more prone to scorpions (near subte lines) because the creatures adapt and have ample food here in the form of cockroaches. He added: “fumigation does not work because it is impossible to reach all the places where they live. There is no product with enough penetrability or residual capacity, and if it existed it would be dangerous for humans.”

For now, it definitely seems like we all need to take a chill pill, follow the preventative guidelines issued by the government and get on with enjoying the summer.