snakebite

(redirected from Snake-bite)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.

snakebite

 [snāk´bīt]
injury caused by the mouth parts of a snake, usually from venom. It is estimated that the worldwide number of deaths from venomous snakebites may be as high as 50,000 annually, with the greatest number being reported in the Indian subcontinent. In North America most poisonous snakes are pit vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins). A few species of coral snakes are found from the southern and southwestern United States southward into Mexico and Central America. Major groups found in other parts of the world include the cobras and the adders.

Not many snakebite deaths occur annually in North America; there are far more deaths from hypersensitivity to insect bites and stings. Practices that increase the incidence of snakebites include failure to wear protective covering for the feet and legs, sleeping outdoors on the ground, and the ritual handling of venomous snakes in some religious ceremonies.
Recognition of Venomous Snakebite. The accurate diagnosis of venomous snakebite is greatly enhanced by capturing or killing the snake and correctly identifying it. Lacking this information, one must depend on clinical manifestations, which can be varied and confusing. One should not depend on visual inspection of the pattern of marks left on the skin. Local swelling may blur the pattern of fang marks; sometimes only one fang of the venomous snake has entered the skin. Nonvenomous snakebites usually do not produce much local swelling or pain, and they bleed freely. These symptoms may, however, also occur in some types of venomous snakebites.
Symptoms. In general, venomous snakebites of the type found in the United States produce severe local pain, swelling that spreads from the site of puncture, and involvement of the lymph glands. The patient may experience nausea and vomiting, thirst, sweating, and a low grade fever. If no other symptoms develop, the prognosis is excellent. More serious symptoms indicating poisoning by a neurotoxin include numbness and tingling of the face, hypotension, convulsions, and visual disturbances. If the snake is the type whose venom contains a hemotoxin, the bite may produce hemorrhaging with hemoptysis, hematuria, and increased prothrombin time.
Treatment. There are conflicting opinions among experts as to the value of incisions over the fang marks and suctioning of venom from the wound if this is done outside a medical facility or by someone other than a specially trained health care provider. Some continue to recommend emergency treatment consisting of immediate application of a tourniquet, deep incisions over the fang marks, and suctioning. Others feel that the application of a tourniquet to reduce peripheral circulation and packing the affected part in ice to reduce absorption of the venom is the best first aid treatment. Some, however, do not recommend use of ice. In any case, the victim is kept calm and as physically inactive as possible and is quickly transported to a medical facility where adequate débridement of the wound and mechanical removal and neutralization of the venom can be done. This also minimizes the danger of introducing infectious agents into the wound.



In addition to local wound treatment, which may require skin grafting at a later date, treatment is concerned with administration of an immune serum (antiserum or antivenin), counteraction of the specific pharmacologic effects of the venom, symptomatic relief, and prevention of complications.
Prevention of Snakebite. Most snakebites are inflicted on people who handle snakes or are foolishly careless in areas where there are known to be venomous snakes. Certain common-sense precautions should be taken when visiting such an area. Important facts to keep in mind are that most snakes are active in the early evening, that they often congregate on rocky slopes facing south or west in order to bask in the sunlight (especially in the spring and fall), and that they are not active at temperatures below 10°C (50°F).

snakebite

(snāk′bīt′)
n.
1. The bite of a snake.
2. Poisoning resulting from the bite of a venomous snake.

snakebite

Toxicology A bite from a snake that may be nonpoisonous
or poisonous–which may cause envenomation and, if severe, be fatal Epidemiology ± 7000 persons are bitten by poisonous snakes/yr
References in periodicals archive ?
A total of 1379 cases of snake-bite were recorded during the period 1999 to 2003 (Table).
Highest incidence (17%, n=236) of snake-bite cases were recorded from the district of Mahbubnagar, while Srikakulam district had lowest incidence (0.2%, n=3), (Fig 3).
Immunoanalysis of specimens (skin/skin scrapings, blood/serum) collected from 22 human snake-bite victims during rainy season revealed cobra venom in 6 specimens (2 males, 4 females), while krait venom was detected in 8 (5 males, 3 females); the remaining samples were negative for both cobra and krait venom.
In the present investigation, snake-bite cases were observed in almost all age groups (except 81-90 yr), the majority being in males aged 21-50 yr, while the male to female ratio was 3:1.
Analysis of district-wise distribution of the snake-bite incidences in the state of Andhra Pradesh showed the highest number of cases from the Mahbubnagar district and least number from Srikakulam district.
One of the important aspects of assessing the cause of death in snake-bite victim is by detection of the snake venom antigens in the specimens collected from the victim.
In conclusion, establishment of the snake-bite incidences based on the specific immunoanalytical tool afforded a true estimate of the specific snake-bite along with clinical and circumstantial evidence.
Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL), Hyderabad for giving permission to collect forensic data on the snake-bite cases.
Annual frequency of snake-bite incidences and sex distribution in cases (1999-2003) No.
Background & objectives: Snake-bites are the common cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical countries.
In Maharashtra highest incidences of snake-bites have been reported (70 bites per 100,000 population and mortality of 2.4 per 100,000/ yr) (7).