Departamento de Clinica Medica, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Servico de Toxicologia do Hospital Joao XXIII, Fundacao Hospitalar do Estado de Minas Gerais, Fundacao Ezequiel Dias (FUNED), Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for detection of Tityus serrulatus venom antigen and of horse anti-T. serrulatus venom antibodies were carried out before antivenom treatment and at 1, 6, 12, and 24 hr after antivenom therapy in 18 patients with systemic manifestations following T. serrulatus scorpion sting. Increased levels of circulating venom antigens were detected in the patients before antivenom treatment, but were no longer detected 1 hr after specific antivenom therapy. High titers of antivenom persisted for at least 24 hr after treatment with antivenom. The evolution of clinical and laboratory manifestations of envenoming showed that vomiting and local pain decreased within 1 hr and hyperglycemia was no longer detected 12 hr after antivenom therapy. The cardiorespiratory manifestations disappeared 6–24 hr after the administration of antivenom and all patients recovered completely. This study demonstrates the efficacy of antivenom therapy in neutralizing circulating venom antigens and supports the prompt administration of a potent antivenom to patients with systemic manifestations of envenoming.