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Snakebite

    Overview

    66顺彩票appSnakebite envenoming is a potentially life-threatening disease that typically results from the injection of a mixture of different toxins (“venom”) following the bite of a venomous snake. Envenoming can also be caused by having venom sprayed into the eyes by certain species of snakes that have the ability to spit venom as a defence measure.

    66顺彩票appSnake antivenoms are effective treatments to prevent or reverse most of the harmful effects of snakebite envenoming and are included in the WHO list of essential medicines. Most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making safe and effective antivenoms more widely available and accessible, and raising awareness on primary prevention among communities and health workers.

     

    Treatment
    • Immediately move away from the area where the bite occurred.
    • Remove anything tight from around the bitten part of the body to avoid harm if swelling occurs.
    • Reassure the victim, as most venomous snake bites do not cause immediate death.
    • Immobilize the person completely and transport the person to a health facility as soon as possible
    • Applying pressure at the bite site with a pressure pad may be suitable in some cases.
    • Avoid traditional first aid methods or herbal medicines.
    • Paracetamol may be given for local pain (which can be severe).
    • Vomiting may occur, so place the person on their left side in the recovery position.
    Closely monitor airway and breathing and be ready to resuscitate if necessary
    Prevalence

    66顺彩票appInadequate past efforts to control snakebite envenoming has produced fragmented, inaccurate epidemiological data. Many victims do not attend health centres or hospitals and instead rely on traditional treatments. However, available data show 4.5–5.4 million people get bitten by snakes annually. Of this, 1.8–2.7 million develop clinical illness and 81,000 to 138,000 die from complications.

    High-risk groups include rural agricultural workers, herders, fishermen, hunters, working children, people living in poorly constructed houses, and those with limited access to education and healthcare.

    Morbidity and mortality occur most frequently among young people and children suffer higher case fatality. Furthermore, women experience increased barriers to accessing medical care in some cultures and pregnant women are extremely vulnerable.

    66顺彩票appIn India alone, an estimated 2.8 million people are bitten by snakes, with almost 47 000 fatal cases. In Bangladesh, an estimated 589 919 cases occur each year, resulting in 6041 deaths. In Sub-Saharan Africa, up to a million people are bitten each year, with an estimated 7000–20 000 deaths. An ongoing crisis restricting access to safe, effective antivenom treatment in many regions, and particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, is one factor that contributes to the predisposition for seeking help through traditional medicine. 

     

    Publications

    All →
    Snakebite envenoming -- A strategy for prevention and control
    The core of the strategy is the goal for all patients to have better overall care, so that the numbers of deaths and cases of disability are reduced by...
    Peer-reviewed-publi-cover-w

    66顺彩票appSnakebite envenoming (SBE) affects as many as 2.7 million people every year, most of whom live in some of the world’s most remote, poorly developed,...

    Peer-reviewed-publi-cover-w
    14 September 2017

    Snakebite envenoming

    Snakebite envenoming is a neglected tropical disease that kills >100,000 people and maims >400,000 people every year. Impoverished populations living...

    Snake gallery

    Twelve snakes responsible for a majority of snakebites around the world


    Media center

    Photo story

    Community engagement drives snakebite control in Eswatini

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    Contact


    Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder

    Technical officer

    Ashok Moloo

    Information officer

    Telephone: +41 22 791 16 37
    Mobile phone: +41 79 540 50 86

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