Snakebites kill 63,000 people worldwide, with 80% of assaults in India.

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By Creative Media News

A recent study reveals that more than 63,000 individuals died from snakebites in 2019, primarily due to a lack of antidotes in rural areas.

The vast majority of these deaths (51,000) occurred in India, whereas only two occurred in Australia.

According to researchers from James Cook University in Queensland, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) aim of reducing the number of deaths from snakebites by 2030 will not be realized.

Professor Richard Franklin, who directed the study, stated, ‘Interventions to ensure more prompt antivenom delivery must be paired with preventive initiatives such as greater education and rural health system development.

Snakebites kill 63,000 people worldwide, with 80% of assaults in india.
Snakebites kill 63,000 people worldwide, with 80% of assaults in india.

Access to antivenom in remote areas of the world promptly will save thousands of lives, and increased investment in developing and scaling up these interventions should be prioritized to meet WHO’s snakebite envenoming and neglected tropical disease goals.

The researchers compiled autopsy and vital registry data from Global Burden of Disease datasets for the study, which was published today in Nature Communications.

This was used to predict the fraction of poisonous animal mortality attributable to snakes by geographic location, age, gender, and year.

The results revealed that the bulk of snake-venom-related fatalities occurred in South Asia, which encompasses Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh and stretches from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka.

Assaults in india
Snakebites kill 63,000 people worldwide, with 80% of assaults in india.

In India, four deaths per 100,000 individuals have been attributed to snakebites, which is significantly higher than the global average of 0.8.

Sub-Saharan Africa was ranked second, with Nigeria having the highest death toll at 1,460.

It is believed that this is due to a shortage of antivenom and other therapies for snakebite complications in remote areas.

Professor Franklin stated that if antivenom is not delivered within six hours of a venomous snake bite, the risk of mortality increases.

‘However, in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, many seek out traditional healers or visit clinics with inadequate education on how to treat snakebite envenoming or without the antivenom necessary to deliver life-saving treatment,’ he said.

Insufficient access to dialysis, ventilators, and blood transfusions, which are important for treating the sequelae of envenoming, is common among victims who do reach a hospital.

In India, four species account for ninety percent of all snakebites: the krait, Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper, and Indian cobra.

Anti-venom exists for all of these species, but the ability of the health system to give care for patients with subsequent problems, such as neurotoxic respiratory failure or acute kidney injury necessitating dialysis, is essential for minimizing snakebite deaths,” stated Professor Franklin.

While 63,000 deaths are still a significant amount, this is a 36% drop compared to 1990.

Nonetheless, the researchers anticipate that the number of deaths would surpass 68,000 in 2050 due to population growth.

The researchers concluded in their paper, “We estimate mortality will continue to drop, but not substantially to reach WHO’s targets.”

Prioritize improved data collection to assist target treatments, enhance burden estimation, and track progress.

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