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Overview of Marine Bites and Stings

By Robert A. Barish, MD, MBA, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
Thomas Arnold, MD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport

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Patient Education

Some marine bites and stings are toxic (see Cnidaria (Coelenterates , such as Jellyfish and Sea Anemones ) Stings, see Mollusk Stings , see Sea Urchin Stings , and see Stingray Stings). All create wounds at risk of infection with marine organisms, most notably Vibrio sp, Aeromonas sp, and Mycobacterium marinum.

Shark bites result in jagged lacerations with near-total or total amputations and should be treated in the same way as other major trauma (see Approach to the Trauma Patient : Evaluation and Treatment).