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Anti-venom for snakebite in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka Medical Association
Publication Date
  • Medicine
  • Anti-Venom
  • Snakebite
  • Communication
  • Political Science


43 43Vol. 47, No. 2, June 2002 Leading article THE CEYLON MEDICAL JOURNAL Established 1887 The Official Publication of the Sri Lanka Medical Association Volume 47, No.2, June 2002 Quarterly ISSN 0009-0875 All communications should be addressed to The Editors, CMJ Editor Emeritus Chris G Uragoda MD, FRCP Editors Colvin Goonaratna FRCP, PhD Janaka de Silva DPhil, FRCP Assistant Editors Dennis Aloysius MBBS, FCGP D N Atukorala MD, FRCP Damani de Silva MD, MRCPsych Harendra de Silva FRCP, MSc Ranjan Dias MS, FRCS Saman Gunatilake MD, FRCP Kolitha Sellahewa MD, FCCP Nimal Senanayake MD, FRCP Harshalal R Seneviratne DM, FRCOG Tissa Vitarana MD, PhD V Wanigasekera MRCP, FRCA International Advisory Board Richard Smith FRCP London, UK. Raja Bandaranayake FRACS, PhD New South Wales, Australia. Kasuko Ito MD Gifu, Japan. R K Tandon MD, PhD New Delhi, India. Continued overleaf Anti-venom for snakebite in Sri Lanka We need an effective, low reactogenic, affordable and polyvalent AVS Sri Lanka has one of the highest snakebite rates in the world. Although there are 92 species of snakes in this country, much of the morbidity and about 95% of the mortality associated with snakebites are due to the highly venomous cobra, Russell’s viper and kraits (1). The hump-nosed viper, a moderately venomous snake, accounts for about 27% of all snakebites in Sri Lanka, with marked geographical variation (1,2). Its bites cause predominantly local effects such as pain and swelling at the site of the bite, but coagulopathy from excessive fibrinolysis has been reported to occur in about 20% of cases (3). Renal impairment has also been reported, but death due to hump-nosed viper bite is rare (1,2,3,4). In the year 2000, over 37 000 patients were treated for snakebite in Sri Lankan government hospitals (5). The national figure for snakebite is likely to be much higher, as many of the victims do not have the opportunity for or do not seek hospital treatment. Hospital mortality has

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