Centipede Envenomation Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 04, 2017
  • Author: Robert L Norris, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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The history of a centipede sting is usually straightforward. The victim (frequently a gardener) typically sees the creature. Patients may note the following:

  • Severe pain (worse with larger specimens)
  • Local tissue swelling
  • Redness
  • Swollen, painful lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Local pruritus

Physical Examination

Physical findings due to centipede envenomation may include the following:

  • Local edema
  • Small puncture wounds (may be hard to see)
  • Erythema [10]
  • Ecchymosis
  • Lymphangitis and/or lymphadenopathy
  • Occasionally vesicles or blisters
  • Possibility of local necrosis
  • The patient may be noticeably uncomfortable or anxious


Complications of centipede envenomation may include the following:

  • Secondary infection
  • Wound necrosis (uncommon)
  • Rare compartment syndrome, rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria, and acute renal failure
  • Possible coronary vasospasm and acute myocardial infarction
  • Anaphylaxis (Patients with a history of hymenoptera sensitivity may be at higher risk. [1] )