Fire-bellied toads (genus Bombina) secrete toxins from their skin that may cause problems to humans, particularly if they get in the eye. This study aimed to describe pediatric exposures to fire-bellied toads reported to a large poison center system.
Cases were fire-bellied toad exposures among patients aged 13 years or younger reported to Texas poison centers during 2000–2014. The distribution by various demographic and clinical factors was determined.
Of 20 total exposures, the mean patient age was 5.8 years (range, 2–13 years); 70% of the patients were boys. The exposure route was ocular (70%), dermal (55%), and ingestion (20%). Eighty-five percent of the exposures occurred at the patient's own residence. Sixty percent of the patients were managed onsite, and 40% were already at or en route to a health care facility. The medical outcome was as follows: minor effects (45%), moderate effects (5%), and not followed but judged to have minimal clinical effects (50%). The most common reported symptoms were ocular irritation/pain (65%), dermal irritation/pain (30%), and red eye (20%). Decontamination by dilution/irrigation/wash was reported in 95% of the patients.
Few pediatric exposures to fire-bellied toads were reported. Those that were reported were most likely to involve ocular followed by dermal routes. The exposures tended not to be serious and could be managed outside of a health care facility.