Hyderabad: Fifty per cent of the world’s snakebite incidents and deaths were reported from India last year. India’s deadliest snakes are the Indian krait, Russel’s viper, saw scaled viper and the cobra.
The most number of snakebite incidents occurred in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, while the highest number of deaths occurred in AP, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The main reason for the deaths is patients not reaching hospitals that administer anti-venom medication on time.
The most number of snakebite cases (20,170) and deaths (84) were reported in Andhra Pradesh in 2017; Telangana state reported 2,675 cases of snakebite and two deaths. Kurnool and West Godavari in AP and Mahbubnagar in TS had the highest number of reported snakebite cases.
The Indian krait, Russel’s viper, saw-scaled viper and the cobra are called the ‘Big Four’ among venomous snakes, as their venom is potent enough to kill a human. These four species are territorial and are widely found in rocky terrain, rural agricultural lands and in and around residential zones. Most victims of snakebite are people working in agricultural fields, and most deaths are due to not getting treatment on time. Anti-venom must be injected within one to two hours of the bite or else it may result in death, said Avinash Visvanathan, general secretary of the Friends of Snakes Society, Hyderabad.
He advised people not to approach quacks or rely on alternative remedies as it does not work.
Every district must have a public health care clinic equipped with anti-venom medication.
“The district medical care clinics need anti-snake venom equipment, especially in the rural areas. The Central and state government must demarcate areas prone to snakebites cases and deaths, and health centres must stock anti-snake venom,” said Dr Subba Kumar a wildlife expert....