[Coral-List] Coral-List Digest, Vol 6, Issue 6

Mark A. Albins albinsm at science.oregonstate.edu
Fri Feb 6 13:36:13 EST 2009

Hi Michael and Coral-list,

Lionfish venom protiens are at least partially heat labile.  Therefore  
symptoms may be reduced by the application of heat to the wound site.   
The suggested method of application is soaking of the wound site in  
hot water (as hot as the victim can stand without doing further  
damage, ~45degC).  Heat treatment shoud be combined with some form of  
pain medication (ibuprofen or another NSAID is recommended over  
acetaminophen due to anti-inflamatory properties).  If the patient is  
in extreme pain, and you are limited to OTC meds, I would suggest a  
high dose (up to 1000 mg) of ibuprofen.  It is also probably a good  
idea to seek medical attention.  As with all puncture wounds and  
especially marine related wounds, lionfish punctures have a propensity  
to become infected.  Oral antibiotics may be necessary.  The toxins  
can also cause localized necrosis of tissues etc. and can get pretty  
ugly, and take a long time to heal.

Be aware that in addition to an organic component, lionfish toxins  
reportedly contain an inorganic component which is not heat labile.   
The following paper describes a case in which heat treatment was not  
effective at reducing symptoms.

Vetrano et al 2002. Lionfish envenomation. The Journal of Emergency  
Medicine.  23(4):379?382.

Luckily for those of us who handle lionfish regularly, while their  
venom can cause extreme pain and discomfort, it is rarely fatal (only  
in cases where victim has pre-existing heart condition or allergy, is  
elderly, or very young etc.).

I hope this information is helpful.



Mark A. Albins
Department of Zoology
Oregon State University
3029 Cordley Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-2914
phone:  (541) 740-7747
fax:     (541) 737-0501

> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 08:42:26 -0500
> From: "Michael Lombardi" <explore at oceanopportunity.com>
> Subject: [Coral-List] lionfish poisoning
> To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <00af01c98860$c04ab810$40e02830$@com>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="US-ASCII"
> Hello folks,
> I'm posting on behalf of a friend/colleague who is a physician doing a
> toxicology rotation. Yesterday a patient visited the ER with an extremely
> swollen hand, saying that he had contact with a lionfish while diving about
> ten days ago. No problems occurred since then. Has anyone had experience
> with lionfish toxins? First response? Known household treatments? Any
> specific medicines that work better than others?
> Thanks for any guidance
> ML
> Michael Lombardi

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