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

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (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

The number is scary but it is true. The place where I started my clinical practice before it got urbanized had snake bite cases. Initially antivenom vaccine was always available with difficulty. But practice was always on the edge.

It is very unfortunate that our country contributes the maximum number of cases of snake bites (along with dog bites). It is for various reasons. First, the snake is considered (particularly cobra) as a form of God and worshipped by Hindus. Also there is a festival day for the Cobra! Secondly, there is lot of opposition to killing by animal lovers, despite the loss of human lives. Along with these, there are snake charmers who make a livng out of it. Most of the time the arrival of a snake causes a scare and an amateur snake catcher is called in to help.

It is time the Government comes up with a policy to save human lives because of snake bite. It is not a difficult one since protection from dog bites has been achieved with great success. Most of the Govt hospitals do have the anti rabies vaccine in store. Hope the same happens with snake bites. As quoted it is not an urban problem but a rural issue and the poor do not have a voice. Thanks for highlighting this important issue.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 June 2018
mohan devegowda
613 2nd main first stage indiranagar Bangalore