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Three-day-old baby a ‘living miracle’ after surviving seven scorpion stings
A three-day-old baby girl has survived being stung a staggering seven times by a deadly yellow scorpion.
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A three-day-old baby girl has survived being stung a staggering seven times by a deadly yellow scorpion.

Astonished medical staff found the venomous insect hiding inside Maria Sofia Ferreira’s nappy, attached to her umbilical cord.

Doctors said the child, from Brazil, only survived because she was given multiple doses of antidote within a two-hour time frame, which saved her life.

Mom Fernanda (25) said on 6 September she’d bathed her daughter, dressed her and put on a new nappy when, 10 minutes later, the child went limp then started foaming at the mouth.

“Sofia felt really soft and weak,” she said. “She didn’t want to be nursed and was struggling to breathe.

“I thought she had reflux. I had no idea a scorpion was buried in her nappy and had stung her seven times.”

The baby was rushed to the Esaú Matos Municipal Hospital in Vitoria da Conquista, in Bahia state in northeast Brazil. She was suffering from an accelerated heartbeat, excessive saliva and a severe loss of appetite.

At one point her condition became critical and she stopped breathing.

She was given six emergency doses of anti-corticosteroid serum and after spending three days in intensive care the new-born, who’s now three weeks old, was discharged and has since made a full recovery.

On Sunday Dr Camila Mirante, the paediatrician who cared for the young patient, spoke for the first time of her shock at finding the eight-legged arachnid still alive and clinging to the baby’s umbilical stump.

“I was so frightened when I opened up Sofia’s diaper and uncovered the scorpion. I panicked because I was too scared to take the insect off myself, so I ran to ask for help from a security guard who removed the creature,” she said.

Mom-of-three Fernanda said medical staff at a health unit where she first took her daughter failed to spot the scorpion despite checking the child over. Instead, like her, they suspected she was suffering from reflux.

“I don’t blame the doctor for not finding the scorpion. It was the last thing anyone suspected.”

It was only after doctors at the municipal hospital completely undressed Sofia that they found the scorpion hidden in her nappy.

“I was in a state of shock when I learnt my daughter had been stung seven times by a scorpion,” Fernanda said.

“I began to cry with my husband, Magno – we were convinced our child was going to die.”

She suspects the scorpion entered their home through a drain in the bathroom and climbed up a cupboard piled with nappies, which was where she changed her daughter.

“The insect must have crawled into the nappy and I didn’t notice when I put it on Sofia,” she said.

Since the incident the family has refused to return to the rented home they’d recently moved into and which is close to an open sewer.

The family abandoned all their clothes, furniture and belongings and moved to a relative’s home which is largely pest-free.

“We were too scared to go back because the chance of one of our children being stung again was too much of a risk to take,” Fernanda said.

The yellow scorpion is carnivorous and feeds on insects such as termites and cockroaches. It’s the deadliest scorpion species in the South American country.

Sofia is among more than 15 000 people who’ve been stung by scorpions in Bahia so far this year, according to figures released by the state health authority.

In 2017 the lethal creatures were responsible for 184 deaths in Brazil, surpassing snake bites that killed 105.

“The fact Sofia survived without any problems means she was meant to be here, and she’s a gift from God,” the grateful mom said.

“I’ve heard of recent cases of children aged two and five who were stung just once and died. My baby is truly a living miracle.”

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