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Centipede envenomation
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Centipede envenomation

Contributors: Robert Norris MD, Joanne Feldman MD, MS
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Centipedes are elongated, multisegmented arthropods with 1 pair of legs per body segment. They are found worldwide in warm, temperate, and tropical regions, where they typically live underground. They are nocturnal hunters, preying mostly on invertebrates, and are fast moving.

Centipedes have between 15 and 100 body segments. The first segment bears claws with venom glands at their bases. The venom is primarily used to kill prey and contains a complex mixture of proteins, histamine, and serotonin that is not well studied.

Centipede stings typically cause severe, burning pain, local swelling, redness, pruritus, and lymphadenopathy. Systemic symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, palpitations, and anxiety. Hemorrhagic vesicles, ulceration, and local necrosis can occur at the sting site. Death is rare, with only 3 reported cases in the literature. Proteinuria, rhabdomyolysis, a case of myocardial ischemia, and another case of myocardial infarction have also been reported.


T63.411A – Toxic effect of venom of centipedes and venomous millipedes, accidental, initial encounter

217677005 – Poisoning due to centipede venom

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Last Updated:02/19/2018
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Centipede envenomation
A medical illustration showing key findings of Centipede envenomation : Bite or trauma site, Edema, Painful skin lesions
Clinical image of Centipede envenomation - imageId=3590859. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Erythematous papules and thin plaques, some linear in configuration, on the flank.'
Erythematous papules and thin plaques, some linear in configuration, on the flank.
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