A deadly new species of scorpion which has led to a number of deaths in the Jaffna district has been identified as “ Hottentotta Tumulus “in the family of ‘Buthidae’.
A species commonly known in India as the “Indian Red Scorpion”.
Researchers believe the deadly species was brought into the country during the period of the IPKF at the time they were in the country and the transport of goods from India into Sri Lanka. Researchers are of the view that these deadly scorpions would have come in goods in bulk .
They have ruled out the possibility of the species being introduced into the country by the LTTE.
Attention was drawn to this new variety of scorpions when a number of persons in the Jaffna District died of its sting.
Records maintained by Dr. Sivanasuthan of the Teaching Hospital in Jaffna and the treatment of a number of patients stung by this vicious scorpion revealed several deaths.
According to his records 12 children died of the scorpion sting in 2003. Thereafter one death a year of scorpion stings was recorded in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Statistics maintained by him indicate eighty deaths between January 2012 and February 2013. Of these, fifty-two percent were among females and while forty-two percent were male. Thirty percent of the deaths occurred among children between the ages of three and twelve.