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Snake bite cases on the rise

by Staff reporter
30 Jan 2013 at 05:30hrs | Views
THE Ministry of Health and Child Welfare yesterday warned that cases of snakebites could shoot up in coming weeks amid reports of acute shortage antivenom.

In an interview on Monday, Head of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Portia Manangazira, said cases of snake bites could increase sharply following growth of foliage resulting from the heavy rains experienced recently.

"Due to the heavy rains there is more grass and as a result there could be an increase in the cases of snake bites but what is worrying the ministry is that the supply of anti venom remains erratic," said Dr Manangazira.

This month alone 138 snake bites have been recorded.

In 2012 the cumulative figure for snakebite cases was 1 994 and nine deaths.

Antivenom is a biological product used in the treatment of venomous bites or stings.

"Sometimes Parirenyatwa Hospital gets supplies but these are erratic largely because they source the supplies themselves," said Dr Manangazira.

She said the antivenom supplies remained low despite a proposal by the Health Ministry to source it.

Dr Manangazira said the need for the antivenom was more pronounced in rural areas.

"In most cases some snake bites are non poisonous, but we would like to encourage members of the community to rush victims to health care facilities instead of performing first aid themselves," said Dr Manangazira.

She said some snake bites result in neurotoxic poisoning, which directly affects the nervous system and could cause death if not treated immediately.

"In some cases the poisoning is hemotoxic and it affects blood cells and can also cause deaths. We are mainly concerned with these two forms of poisoning," said Dr Manangazira.

Source - TC