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Snake Bites Should Not Be Underestimated, Say Experts

Date:
November 25, 2005
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Life threatening snake bites are uncommon in the UK but can happen, especially in children, and should not be underestimated, says an expert in this week's British Medical Journal. Antivenom, the only specific antidote is underused in the UK.

Life threatening snake bites are uncommon in the UK but can happen, especially in children, and should not be underestimated, says an expert in this week's British Medical Journal.

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Antivenom, the only specific antidote is underused in the UK.

As well as bites by the UK's only indigenous venomous snake, the adder, doctors should also be aware that large numbers of dangerous snakes are kept surreptitiously as macho pets, writes Professor David Warrell. This "underground zoo" reveals itself a few times each year when bitten owners are forced to seek medical help.

Envenoming can evolve over many hours, so patients must be carefully observed in hospital for at least 24 hours after being bitten, he says. Antivenom is effective and safe, but is currently underused in the UK.

Treatment for exotic venomous snake bites may be more challenging than for adder bites, and it may be difficult to establish which species was involved and so obtain the appropriate antivenom, he concludes.

###

Citation: Treatment of bites by adders and exotic venomous snakes BMJ Volume 331, pp 1244-7.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Snake Bites Should Not Be Underestimated, Say Experts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051124215827.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2005, November 25). Snake Bites Should Not Be Underestimated, Say Experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051124215827.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Snake Bites Should Not Be Underestimated, Say Experts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051124215827.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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