Scorpion alert on fruit after two suffer stings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2007, 12:00am

Authorities have warned the public to be careful handling langsats, a tropical fruit, after two women were stung by scorpions.

The women, stung on two days last week, each spent a night in hospital and were discharged after treatment for swollen, inflamed fingers.

In the first case, a 64-year-old woman was stung on the middle finger while taking some langsats - also known as lanzones, or long ku in Cantonese - from a plastic bag on May 2. She said the fruit was bought from a stall in Hung Hom.

A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection said yesterday the finger immediately became swollen, numb and inflamed. The woman was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital that day and discharged the next.

In the other case, a 32-year-old woman's right little finger was stung as she took langsats from a refrigerator on May 3. She said she bought a bag of the fruit from a stall in a market in Yau Ma Tei.

She went to the same hospital immediately and was discharged the following day.

Scorpions were found among the fruit in both cases.

Medical sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said such stings were rare but difficult to prevent under the food safety monitoring system.

He said fatal scorpion species and death from stings were not common.

A spokeswoman for the Centre for Food Safety said last night the centre was still tracing the source of the fruit.

A spokeswoman for the Centre for Health Protection warned the public that langsats should be carefully examined by holding the stalk of a bunch and shaking it vigorously under water before taking individual fruit, as scorpion may hide in the bunch.

Anyone who suffered a sting should apply a cold compress to relieve the swelling and pain then gently wash the affected areas with soap and water, leave the wound intact and seek medical help as soon as possible.