Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snakebites: At Least 421,000 Venom Bites And 20,000 Deaths Occur Each Year, Study Finds

Date:
November 4, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Snakebites cause considerable death and injury worldwide and pose an important yet neglected threat to public health, says new research in PLoS Medicine.

A new study estimates that at least 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 deaths from snakebites occur each year.
Credit: iStockphoto

Snakebites cause considerable death and injury worldwide and pose an important yet neglected threat to public health, says new research published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Related Articles


The study used the most comprehensive methods yet to estimate that at least 421,000 envenomings (venomous bites) and 20,000 deaths from snakebites occur each year, especially in South and South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

To estimate death and injury from snakebite, Janaka de Silva (University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka) and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature, reviewed county-specific mortality data from databases maintained by United Nations organizations, and identified unpublished information from Ministries of Health, National Poison Centres, and snakebite experts on snakebites in countries that do not have reliable data on snakebite incidence and mortality.

This data retrieval produced information for many of the world's 227 countries, which were grouped into 21 geographical regions. The researchers estimate that 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 deaths occur worldwide from snakebite each year, but warn that these figures may be as high as 1,841,000 envenomings and 94,000 deaths, especially in areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where antivenoms are hard to obtain. India has the highest estimated annual envenomings and deaths: 81,000, and 11,000 respectively.

In a related Perspective article, Jean-Philippe Chippaux from the the Institut de Recherche pour le Dιveloppement in La Paz, Bolivia and uninvolved in the research, argues that this study is a "preliminary but essential step in improving accessibility of anitvenoms and the treatment of snakebite." Dr. Chippaux notes the dire situation of antivenom availability and cost in Africa—a situation that could be worsened by the current global economic crisis—where the price of a vial of antivenom is the equivalent of several months of income for most rural families.

Better information on the global burden of snakebite would help understand how much antivenom needs to be produced and in what areas it needs to be distributed, he says. As de Silva and colleagues conclude, despite their careful methodology, more population-based studies of incidence and mortality from snakebite are urgently needed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kasturiratne A, Wickremasinghe AR, de Silva N, Gunawardena NK, Pathmeswaran A, et al. Estimation of the global burden of snakebite. PLoS Med, 5(11): e218 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050218

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Snakebites: At Least 421,000 Venom Bites And 20,000 Deaths Occur Each Year, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103203029.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, November 4). Snakebites: At Least 421,000 Venom Bites And 20,000 Deaths Occur Each Year, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103203029.htm
Public Library of Science. "Snakebites: At Least 421,000 Venom Bites And 20,000 Deaths Occur Each Year, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103203029.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins