Need to prevent, respond to the treatment of snakebites: Experts | WeForNews

International Snakebite Awareness Day: KP, an 18-year-old boy, gets bitten in the remote village of Gumte in Arunachal Pradesh in the evening as he walks home through the jungle.

He complains of severe pain in his bitten hand which begins to swell in no time. His mother rushes him to the nearby primary health center, where there are no health personnel available.

His mother takes him to a nearby traditional healer who incises the wound with a used blade despite the excruciating pain the boy is in, then applies a serpent stone, which the healer says sucks the venom out of the body.

The boy slowly begins to become unconscious and shows signs of respiratory distress. He was then rushed to Pakke Kessang Community Health Center 30 km away, but arrived there unconscious and was pronounced dead on arrival.

Snakebite envenomation (SBE) was added to the list of neglected tropical diseases in 2017 by the World Health Organization (WHO), which also estimates that there are 4.5 to 5.4 million snakebites worldwide, resulting in 1.8 to 2.7 million envenomations, 81,000 to 138,000 deaths, and permanent disabilities out of 400,000 per year.

International Snakebite Awareness Day is celebrated on September 19 every year.

India has the dubious distinction of accounting for half the number of bites, around two million and 58,000 deaths a year. More than 70% of SBEs occur in men, usually in the productive ages between 20 and 60, and therefore have a considerable socio-economic impact, particularly in the event of the death of the only time-saving family member.

Doctors say the reasons for the neglect are many, including the general lack of snakebite awareness among healthcare workers, the community, and more. the available general-purpose anti-snake venom having no neutralizing effect against North East Indian snake species; victims in remote villages rely on traditional healers for treatment; and the absence of a national treatment protocol.

All of these factors, along with the general apathy shown towards EBS by health policy makers, the pharmaceutical industry, funding agencies and the health system in general, despite the considerable social ramifications, contribute to it. .

The problems highlighted are more pronounced in the northeast, as the snake species here differ greatly from the rest of India and the effect of anti-snake venom against common envenomers like the naja kaouthia (monocellate cobra) and the species of vipers is doubtful.

In order to be able to prevent death and complications, the community needs to be educated about snakebites, how to prevent them, first aid measures, and the value of snake venom as the only available treatment for envenomation.

The awareness campaign should seep into the community through school children, ASHA workers, etc.

Physicians should be trained in immediate first aid, signs and symptoms of envenomation, dosage of snake venom, and premedication and complications.

In order to address this neglect and inequity, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has formed a National Task Force for the Study of Incidence, Morbidity, Mortality and Socio-economic Burden snakebites in India.

The task force includes Jaideep C. Menon, Cardiologist at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, Omesh K. Bharti, State Epidemiological Officer with the Government of Himachal Pradesh, and Santanu K. Sharma, Scientist G at the Center Dibrugarh Regional Medical Research Center.

They are currently on a field visit for an analysis of the situation in the four northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

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