More than 500 people were hospitalized in Egypt over the weekend after heavy rain and hail flooded the southern city of Aswan, forcing highly venomous scorpions from their hiding places and into people's homes.
Three people died during the rain event, but the causes have not been made public. However, in a statement, acting Health Minister Khalid Abdel-Ghafar said none of the deaths are related to the scorpion stings.
Victims who were stung by the scorpions reported symptoms including pain, fever, and sweating. They were treated with anti-venom at the hospital and discharged.
Aswan is home to the Androctonus crassicauda scorpion, a Greek name that translates into “man-killer.”
Though not aggressive under normal circumstances, it is considered one of the most toxic scorpions on Earth, capable of killing an adult within an hour of being stung.
File photo of Aswan at night. (Kamchatka/Canva Pro)
According to the BBC, it's not unusual for heavy rain to wash scorpions out onto the street, alongside the occasional snake.
Hospitals near the mountains and deserts where the scorpions reside have been given extra doses of anti-venom, an official said via Al-Ahram news agency.
Aswan, a city of about 1.5 million people, is in a typically dry region, receiving an average of 3 mm of rain annually. Weather models forecast between 12 and 15 mm of rain in Aswan over the weekend, the Washington Post (WP) reports, enough to flood streets and other infrastructure, damaging farms, and vehicles.
Scorpion stings typically send about 100 people to Aswan's medical centres daily, WP reports, but cases tend to go up when heavy storms roll through.