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Feature Public health

The snake in the room: snakebite’s huge death toll demands a global response

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2449 (Published 05 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2449

Re: The snake in the room: snakebite’s huge death toll demands a global response

Snake bites and deaths due to them are clearly a problem of the marginalised in society. They are seen among the remotest rural areas, more among those who sleep on the floor, and are involved in agroforestry economic activities and those with mud floors and thatched roofs in their homes and those with little public lighting in their neighbourhood. Working among the tribal people in central India has shown the kraits to be the commonest snakes to cause deaths. Most of these bites happen during the night when poor roads and poor ambulance services determine their fate. Coupled with this, poor distribution of the antisnake venom and poor skill sets among medical professionals aggravate the problems. If all the different causative factors mentioned above are addressed, the death rates can be brought down to less than ten per cent of the present numbers. Snake bites will not go away so soon, but deaths can be minimised.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 June 2018
yogesh Jain
public health physician
rachna jain
JSS
E 27 parijat extension nehru Nagar bilaspur chhattisgarh