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Study Area and Population

Khouribga is a province located in central Morocco in Chaouia-Ourdigha plain, 750 meters above sea level (Latitude: 32°55’N; Longitude: 6°40’W) showing temperate climate. Other towns representative of this region (Oued Zem and Bejaad) were also evaluated. Thus, the total sample (492000 in 2001; 493000 in 2002; and 494000 in 2003) corresponded to 116 inhabitants/km2 and 1.65% of the whole country (Source: National Administrative Department of Statistics).

Epidemiological Data

Children and adults who were stung by scorpions between 2001 and 2003 and sought medical aid at the hospitals of the cities mentioned above were included in the study. Information about all patients was obtained from Morocco’s National Record. Clinical and epidemiological data were recorded, including characteristics of the stings, time elapsed between sting and admission to the hospital, clinical severity score at admission (based on local and systemic signs of envenomation), follow-up length, treatment received, complications and outcome of the cases as well as referrals.

Clinical severity was assessed according to Abroug’s classification (3), which is easy to sort the envenomation cases and to compare the severity classes with literature data. Thus, in the present study the severity classes were defined as following:

Severity class I: local symptoms; severity class II: thrill, hypersudation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea hypertension and priapism; and severity class III: cardiovascular and/or respiratory and/or neurological symptoms.

Data Analysis

The program Microsoft Office Excel was used to compare valid information about the patients and the descriptive analysis was performed using the programs STATISTICA and EPI INFO 6. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Chi-squared test for independence (2) or analysis of variance (F). In case of significant differences, intragroup comparison was made using the Duncan’s test to determine the number of subgroups for each parameter. Values of p lower than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

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