An unidentified snake bit Abdourahmane’s left ankle while he was herding goats. One of the worst-hit locations is sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 30,000 deaths from snakebites are believed to occur each year. For example, the issue of snake bites is prevalent in areas of Africa and rural India. As many as 138,000 people around the world die from snakebites each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and roughly 95 percent of those deaths occur in poor, rural communities in developing nations. Antivenom production requires actual venom. A l, Our Black Friday specials are here, on some of the, The harmless Green Water Snake (Philothamnus hoplo, The Mozambique Spitting Cobra (Naja mossambica), a, Interested in doing a snake handling course or two, Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana) from the Western Cape, Sundevall's Garter Snake (Elapsoidea sundevallii s, We’ve just completed 5 days of back-to-back corp, Mole Snake teeth: The Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana). –  Never put your hands in out-of- sight places, especially when mountain climbing. Such treatments cost anything from R4,000 to over R20,000. If the correct procedures are followed, most dogs regain full sight within a few days. “We see millions being spent to rig even local elections, while in the meantime African scientists lack money to do lifesaving research,” Baldé says. –  If used with oxygen a bag valve mask will provide the highest concentration of oxygen possible. Nick … –  An immediate burning pain, followed by swelling, which progresses up the limb and may affect the lymph glands (the Puff Adder and the Mozambique Spitting Cobra). Initially, antivenom production was limited to the venom of the Cape Cobra and Puff Adder, but in 1938, Gaboon Adder venom was introduced. The Top Three Snakes Responsible For Medically Significant Snake Bites In South Africa. –  Leave snakes alone and treat them with respect at all times. Advantages of using a bag valve mask Hunters, hikers, birders and fishermen should consider wearing snake gaiters that protect the lower leg. The study also found that between 2001 and 2014, some 70% of the snake bite deaths occurred in eight states - Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar … The figures are equal to the number of deaths reported due … After applying the pressure bandage, check for the presence of a pulse below distal to the bandage. Depending on the species, venom can cost a pharmaceutical company up to several thousand dollars a gram. In neighbouring Bangladesh, a nationwide epidemiological survey estimated that 589 919 snakebites occurred each year, resulting in 6041 deaths. Please see section on Smart Bandages. Disadvantages of using a bag valve mask Cheaper antivenoms are available but often are unreliable. Some patients have an allergic reaction to antivenom and this may result in anaphylaxis – a life-threatening condition if not treated promptly. ER24 Ambulance  084124 There is little evidence that a tourniquet could be life-saving following a snakebite. Sources: Jean-Philippe Chippaux, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development and Institut Pasteur; Joshua Longbottom, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; WHO, Venomous snakes of high medical importance. A bite from a … Poor people living in snake infested areas are the worst affected. –  Keep flushing for at least 15-20 minutes and then transport the victim to a medical doctor, who will do a slit lamp examination and prescribe local anaesthetic and antibiotic eye drops. Snake bites kill approximately 32,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa and leaves a 100,000 survivors nursing injuries, and some suffer permanent physical disabilities, according to a study. –  If no water is available, other bland liquids like milk or beer can be used but water works best. Roughly 11% of the 173 species of snakes in southern Africa can be considered deadly and these include mambas, cobras, the Rinkhals, Puff Adder, Gaboon Adder, Boomslang and the Twig Snake. They’re milked about once a month for their venom. Riley D. Champine, NGM Staff; EDWARD BENFIELD. Once the victim is at a treatment center, survival depends on two vital points: Is a reliable antivenom available? Timothy bent over to pick up the snake even though he had no idea what species it was. In some cases patients go into anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition during which the blood pressure drops and the heart may stop beating. Often in sub-Saharan Africa the answer to both is no. Assisted breathing while transporting the victim to hospital can be life-saving. 1. The Bite: A cocktail of neurotoxins and cardiotoxins in the snake’s venom can kill you. About 25 years ago Baldé was taking a break under a mango tree at IRBAG when a frantic man ran up to him carrying an unconscious child. Check the pulse every 10-15 minutes. Snakebites are a major public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa. Popular myths that are meaningless in saving your pet or farm animal after a snakebite –  Venom in the eyes is very painful and must be flushed or diluted as quickly as possible. Some botanical treatments do ease pain and reduce swelling, but they can’t save a victim’s life, Baldé says. The Black Mamba strikes high due to its long and muscular body In Asia up to 2 million people are … Do not give the victim alcohol. About half of the bites from venomous snakes are dry, with no venom injected, says Eugene Erulu, a physician at Watamu Hospital in southern Kenya, “so these patients get well, and the traditional healer believes that he has healed the patients.”. Patient Abdourahmane Diallo, 12, and his father (at right) wait at Baldé’s treatment center, a rare African facility with snakebite expertise. Neurotoxic venom affects the nervous system A harmless, Gaboon Adder (Bitis gabonica) from Zululand. A snake catcher at the Guinean Institute for Applied Biological Research, Camara lost part of his left index finger to amputation after he was bittenby a western green mamba. Public awareness campaigns in Guinea and elsewhere echo what he tells his patients: Wear shoes when walking in places likely to have snakes, and use a flashlight at night. After several hours there may be bleeding from small cuts, the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, purple patches under the skin, and eventually severe internal bleeding which results in vomiting of blood and haemorrhage from the bowels. We have, Aurora House Snake (Lamprophis aurora). Nabi Camara checks grasses and bushes for snakes in western Guinea’s forest-savanna bioregion. A complete first aid kit contained a lancet, ligature, syringe and two bottles of serum. –  Giving the animal Allergex tablets. About 5.4 million snake bites occur each year, resulting in 1.8 to 2.7 million cases of envenomings (poisoning from snake bites).There are between 81 410 and 137 880 deaths and around three times as many amputations and other permanent disabilities each year. –  Flush the eyes by placing the victim’s head under a slow-running tap with the eyes forced open. –  A bag valve mask is preferred over mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as it is far more effective and does not require close personal contact that could result in contamination. –  Apply pressure bandages So when we say that a snake has neurotoxic or cytotoxic venom, it is a generalisation and refers to the dominant clinical effects. “You can treat even if you’re not sure which snake caused the bite,” Benjamin says. Their venom typically kills within days. If you are far away from the nearest hospital, or on a remote farm or travel into the bush often, seriously consider acquiring a bag valve mask (BVM) and undergoing the required training to learn how to use it. If required, antivenom must be injected intravenously by a medical doctor in a hospital environment and usually in large quantities. Snake-bite is a leading medical emergency in many countries in this vast region especially in Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, and New Guinea while India alone suffers an average of 46,000 deaths each year from this cause. Vipers and elapids are responsible for more than 95 percent of envenomations around the world. The black mamba is the fastest running snake in Africa, and perhaps in the world. –  DO NOT apply ice or boiling water, lotion or potions Many snakes are active after sunset, and slow-moving snakes like the Puff Adder are easily trodden on. –  The greatest difficulty is getting a proper seal on the face and this has an effect on the efficiency of the bag valve mask. What to do For venom in the eyes, the treatment is like that for humans. If properly used, it can keep a victim alive for several hours. A monovalent antivenom was developed for the venom of the Boomslang in 1940. –  Never tamper with a seemingly dead snake, as many have the nasty habit of playing dead when scared or threatened, only to strike out the moment an opportunity arises. Orders placed after midday on the 15th will only be dispatched after the 4th of January 2021. They experimented with a variety of domestic animals for serum production, but settled on the horse, due to the large volume of blood that could be tapped during a session. The Federal Ministry of Health blamed State Ministries of Health (SMoH) for the increase in snake bite-related deaths in the country, insisting that FMoH has some vials of anti-snake … –  This is not easily achieved without proper training but, as already mentioned, it is unlikely to cause any ill effects in Black Mamba or Cape Cobra bites. Ideally make use of a Smart bandage. Isolomo’s companions helped him into the canoe and paddled frantically back to their village of Iteli. Small animals may suffer severe blood loss in addition to tissue damage. Elevate the affected limb slightly above heart level. Even with a high-quality antivenom, treating snakebites can be hit or miss: The chemical makeup of venom and its effects can vary from snake to snake, even within a species. Cats are very quick and smart enough to attack juvenile snakes only and are seldom bitten. He vowed this girl would be the last such victim. The kit must be refrigerated, not frozen, at 2-10 ºC. The vast majority of snakebite victims who are hospitalised soon after a bite, will survive. Roughly 11% of the 173 species of snakes in southern Africa can be considered deadly and these include mambas, cobras, the Rinkhals, Puff Adder, Gaboon Adder, Boomslang and the Twig Snake. Producing antivenoms is a long, expensive process, and because the vast majority of people who need them live in developing countries, such drugs are not big moneymakers. (Download the ASI Snakes app). Boiling water does not denature snake venom. After a traditional healer applied a tourniquet, they set out by canoe for the hospital in Mbandaka, the provincial capital, some 60 miles away. A major factor is a severe shortage of the only medicine that can neutralize the toxins of dangerous snakes: antivenom. To draw attention to the snakebite crisis and to attract funding for research and treatment, in 2017 WHO added snakebite envenomation to its roster of neglected tropical diseases, which includes rabies, dengue, and leprosy. Did you know that we present online courses too? Movement speeds up the spread of venom in the lymphatic system. During the 1970s the venoms of various other cobras were also added. “So far, we’re not making a profit on Inoserp,” CEO Juan Silanes says. Click here to enquire about first aid courses for snakebite during which the proper application of pressure bandages is taught. A sharp pain sent him reeling. It should not be used in spitting cobra or adder bites where excessive swelling is anticipated, but rather for bites from the Cape Cobra and Black Mamba. Snake handler dies from a black mamba bite as he tried to extract its venom for medical research in South Africa. The snakes have a reputation as the most dangerous and feared snake in Africa at large. The bite from a neurotoxic snake (largely mambas and some cobras) may cause respiratory paralysis and threaten the animal’s life. Families may seek help instead from a traditional healer, who may apply leaves or ash from burned animal bones, or tie a tourniquet around the bitten limb, which can dangerously restrict blood flow. Complicating matters is that many victims, for lack of money or transportation, or because of distrust of Western medicine, don’t go to hospitals—or don’t get there in time. [23] Although there is a global medicinal cure for snakebite called "anti-venom," it still accounted for up to 130,000 deaths and over 300,000 paralyzing injuries and amputations last year. Bites from snakes with predominantly cytotoxic venom – such as adders and spitting cobras – result in pain, swelling and blistering and this may lead to tissue damage. It was a failure of duty to let people die like this. Venomous snakes are found around the world, but the people most at risk live in poor, rural regions of Africa and southern Asia, where access to treatment often is limited. –  Dizziness, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, drooping eyelids and nausea (the mambas and the Cape Cobra). Timothy walked back to the family’s cabin so that he could wash the snake bite. –  Do not try to kill or catch a snake if you come across one. UK student dies after snake bite in South Africa. Doctors treat such patients with adrenaline. –  Do not handle small snakes, even small ones. This comes from labs that may house thousands of snakes in captivity. Most African snakebite victims are farmers who work in remote fields barefoot or in sandals, making them particularly vulnerable. Globally, about 5m snake bites occur worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization, resulting in between 81,000 and 138,000 deaths. Please note that our offices are closed during the December Holidays. Read about the challenges of treating snakebites in the Amazon. SOURCES: Jean-Philippe Chippaux, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development and Institut Pasteur; JORDAN BENJAMIN AND NICKLAUS BRANDEHOFF, ASCLEPIUS SNAKEBITE FOUNDATION. –  In case of a snakebite emergency, do not attempt to catch or kill the snake – rather take a photograph from a safe distance to assist with identification. In Africa, where there are around 20 000 snakebite deaths a year, the main culprit is the saw-scales viper (also known as the carpet viper) of the genus Echis. Some philanthropic organizations are stepping in where government support lags. Venom of elapids such as cobras, African mambas, and Australasian taipans can block the transmission. African Snakebite Institute  +27 82 494 2039 Home remedies and first aid treatment has very little effect on the final outcome of such a bite. By the time they arrived, about three hours after Isolomo was bitten, he was slipping in and out of consciousness. Additionally, most of the more reliable African antivenoms need to be kept refrigerated to stay stable and effective. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- But some doctors and … The James Ashe Antivenom Trust buys antivenoms for hospitals in Kenya’s Kilifi County so patients can get free treatment. In Africa, the bite of the black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is locally known as “the kiss of death” and it is regarded as the most dangerous species of snake in the continent.The black mamba is known to strike from a considerable range, delivering a potent neurotoxic venom through single or repeated strikes that trigger death dealing symptoms within 45 minutes of the bite. The Mozambique Spitting Cobra accounts for the vast majority of serious bites, followed by the Puff Adder, and then the Stiletto Snake and Rhombic Night Adder. Electric shocks do not neutralise snake venom. The idea is to lay the patient on his/her back, tilt the head backwards to open up the airway and ensure that there is no blockage or excessive liquid that could block the airway. Snakebite kits contain two 10 ml vials of antivenom and can be purchased directly from the SAVP. The bite is followed by oozing of blood from the bite site after a few hours, headache, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting and increased sweating. No part of the world is free of snakebites. Isolomo’s story encapsulates the global snakebite crisis: Bitten in a remote area, hours from the closest hospital, he didn’t have a chance. –  Never walk barefoot or without a torch at night when camping or visiting facilities in the bush. Most snakebite victims that are treated with antivenom receive 8 – 12 vials. The studies have found that “they are the longest species of venomous snake in Africa.” They are also the “second longest species of venomous snake in the world.” The average length of a Black Mamba measures up to 6.6–8.2 feet; however, the maximum length of the snake goes to 14 feet. Should the animal stop breathing on the way to a veterinarian, you can try mouth-to-nose resuscitation. In addition to biting, both of these snakes spray their venom up to a distance of three metres and do so in self-defense to temporarily blind their attacker and allow the snake to escape. –  For small children or babies a size-specific bag valve mask may be required. One of the worst-hit locations is sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 30,000 deaths from snakebites are believed to occur each year. In cases of severe envenomation, antivenom is the only solution and anything from two to six (or more) vials of polyvalent antivenom (polyvalent antivenom neutralises the venom of cobras, mambas, the Rinkhals, Puff Adder and Gaboon Adder) may be required. Approximately 1 million snakebites occur in sub-Saharan Africa each year, resulting in up to 500,000 envenomations, 25,000 deaths and another 25,000 permanent disabilities. But before they arrived, Isolomo stopped breathing and died. Kidney failure and brain haemorrhage may occur after a few days. But some doctors and snakebite experts say the true toll may be double that. The institute had been a snakebite treatment center in the early 1900s, but by mid-century its focus had shifted. Snakebite victims often have a lot of liquid accumulating in the mouth as swallowing is compromised – a hand pump may be needed to remove excess liquid. A puff adder, one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes, basks on a warm rock in Guinea. The average annual incidence is about 57,500 snake bites (6.2 per 100,000 population) and mortality is close to 370 deaths (0.04 per 100,000 population), that is, between one third and half of the previous estimates. If the pulse is not palpable, then the pressure bandage should be removed and the need for it reassessed. Snake venom is generally divided into three categories based on the toxins it contains: Neurotoxins (the mambas and several of the cobras, especially the Cape Cobra), Cytotoxins (the Puff Adder, Gaboon Adder and Mozambique Spitting Cobra), and Haemotoxins (the Boomslang and the Twig Snake). Snake bites in South Africa are not as common as you would think, annually less than 12 people per annum die as a result of a venomous snake bite in South Africa.To put it into perspective more people die from allergic reactions and motorcar related accidents than are bitten and die from snake bite. The application of a pressure bandage is rather complex and requires training to get the pressure right. Immobilise the victim, lay the victim down if possible and transport (or arrange transport) to the closest hospital. Leave the bite site alone, except for cleaning it with cool water and applying a sterile gauze dressing. Their venom can kill within hours. –  A bag valve mask can be used effectively for several hours without the operator becoming exhausted. Haemotoxic venom affects the clotting mechanism of the blood Snake venom is complex in composition and varies dramatically from species to species. Three hours later they arrived at the camp, and Isolomo began checking the fishing lines he’d set up the day before. Did you know that we present online courses too? Black Mamba. Durban - A snake catcher said he received four reports of snake bite incidents in the city last week, which he said could have been avoided. But he hopes WHO’s new global investment in snakebite prevention will be effective. IMPORTANT  Do not waste valuable time applying a pressure bandage – immediately transport the patient to the nearest hospital with a trauma unit and, if possible, apply the pressure bandage whilst travelling. And if so, does the medical staff know how to administer it? Symptoms may include drowsiness, vomiting, increased sweating, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech and difficulty in swallowing, speaking, breathing and weakness of other muscle groups. Feeling resistance on one, he thrust his hand into the murky water. The respiratory muscles are gradually paralysed which leads to respiratory failure. –  Remove rings and tight clothing There is very little an owner can do to save an animal’s life that has been bitten by a venomous snake, other than getting it to a vet. –  Wear boots and thick trousers or jeans if you spend a great deal of time outdoors. Available in English & Afrikaans. See links to view/download the ASI Dangerous Snakes of Southern Africa Poster below. Snakes with predominantly cytotoxic venom include the Puff Adder, Rhombic Night Adder, Mozambique Spitting Cobra and Stiletto Snake. (Learn more about a promising multispecies antivenom for Asian snake species. These animals will probably need antivenom and will likely have to be placed on a ventilator to help them breathe while the antivenom takes effect. In West Africa alone 11,000 people died after being bitten by a venomous snake. In cases where dogs are bitten in the face and throat region the swelling may also inhibit breathing and this is particularly problematic in small dogs. used estimates of 32,000 deaths and 100,000 disabilities suffered by snakebite victims in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) may in fact under-represent the scale of the problem. Baldé, then an entomologist studying vector-borne diseases, brought the 12-year-old into the clinic, but there was no hope. (Learn more: What’s the most venomous snake in the world?). The risk of death by snakebite is highest in developing regions. Local tissue necrosis is quite common and may result in the loss of a limb. Up to 40% of patients treated with antivenom may experience an allergic reaction. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where data are even more incomplete, up to a million people are reported as being bitten each year, with estimates of … Persistent morbidity is high but unquantified. “They should make antivenom cheaper so that people can be treated—the cost is a major problem.”, Inosan Biopharma is investing millions of dollars to ramp up production of Inoserp, hoping African governments eventually commit to buying sufficient amounts to counter the crisis. [8] Poison Information Helpline  0861 555 777 –  DO NOT inject antivenom as a first aid measure If a victim is not administered with anti-venom, there is a 100% probability of death within seven to fifteen hours. The snake was later identified as a juvenile African boomslang. Hospitals and pharmacies might charge $80 to $120 or more a vial, and most snakebite victims require several vials. Snakebite symptoms vary dramatically from bite to bite. In 1928, the South African Institute for Medical Research (SAIMR) began to produce antivenom. All rights reserved. Orders placed after midday on the 15th will only be dispatched after the 4th of January 2021. of nerve impulses, paralyzing respiratory muscles and making it impossible to breathe. . Many snakebites take place so quickly that victims are not always certain that they have actually been bitten.