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Snake bites: The hidden health crisis that kills 200 people every day



When the tip of his thumb was bitten by a King Cobra, he was taken to a hospital in Bangkok within 15 minutes. There he was given a serum that prevented the poison, which can be fatal, from attacking his nervous system.

"At first, the doctor did not believe that I was bitten by a king Cobra, so I had to tell him that I was a teacher who taught snakes, and I am very good at identifying types."

"It concerned me for about two months. I had to go to the hospital twice more for surgery to remove dead tissue from my thumb. "

But most snakebite victims do not live so close to a hospital, and they do not have the expertise of Pookpinyo snakes: for them, misguided walking or misplacing at the wrong time can be fatal in the wrong place.

Snake bites killing between 81,000 and 138,000 people and obstructing 400,000 other anti-poison snakes every year, especially in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where there are few suitable health facilities.

According to the UK's Wellcome Trust, a research organization Snakebites more deaths disability than any other neglected tropical disease.

"Snakebite is – or should – be a treatable disease. There is a high chance of survival with access to the right antidote, "said Professor Mike Turner, Scientific Director of Wellcome.

" Although humans are always bitten by venomous snakes, there is no reason why so many should die.

  Pinyo Pookpinyo had to undergo surgery to remove dead tissue after being bitten on this thumb.
It is an assessment that the World Health Organization agrees. "On Thursday, the Global Health Authority launches a strategy to tackle the problem, which activists refer to as the world's largest hidden health crisis.

The goal is death and obstruction by snake bites Investments cut $ 136 million by 2030 to educate communities on bite prevention, make more effective treatments, and improve health systems.

The Wellcome Trust is also behind the push, investing $ 80 million over the next few years Pounds ($ 101.3 million) seven years, according to Wellcome a dramatic change in fortune in this area as only £ 30m ($ 38m) was invested in the last decade.

Outdated Treatments

Scientists say that new approaches to making antidote required are safer, cheaper and more effective.

The current method has changed little since the 19th century: venom is extracted from a snake and administered to a horse or other animal in small doses to elicit an immune response. The blood of the animal is removed and purified to obtain antibodies that act against the venom.

  Scientists Extract Poison at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

"Whether mild, like rash and itching, or more severe, such as anaphylaxis," said Phil Price, Wellcome's leading snake bite scientist. "Anti-poison is far from perfect, and many are not clinically tested." how other drugs are tested. "

It's also work that was unprofitable for drug companies: in 2010, Sanofi Pasteur stopped producing his FAV-Afrique antidote to several African snakes.

A research approach that Wellcome scientists are pursuing with the new funding They will also see alternatives to the fight against the poison and exacerbate existing developmental methods.

Among the snakes considered to be the greatest killers of humans is those in Africa, the Middle East, India and saw-saw otters found in Pakistan and the Russell viper found in India and Southeast Asia, Price said.

Global scarcity

According to Wellcome, the world has less than half of the needed antidote and anti-venom in some places is often ineffective, as it is not adapted to local species, antidotes have been found only for about 60% of the poisonous snakes of the We lt developed.

This problem is particularly acute in Africa, where up to 90% of the antidote is considered ineffective. This can make people suspicious and they turn to local healers instead of hospitals.

And when available, it can also be prohibitively expensive, plunging poor victims into deeper trouble. On average, one vial of Antigox costs $ 160, and a full course usually requires multiple vials, Wellcome said.

A 2013 study from India found that more than 40% of hospital casualties had a loan to pay for treatment, and to repay it, families often had to sell valuables.

"If you spend your income to pay for the treatment, transportation, and rehabilitation, something has to happen-it's children's school books, or either the family's food," Dr. Bernadette Abela-Ridder of the WHO Department for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

WHO plans to focus on strengthening health systems in addition to improving the control of poison. Prevention and education to ensure that people can recognize the poisonous snakes in their communities and to make simple behavioral changes such as wearing shoes.

Kocha Olarn of CNN contributed to this report.


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