Death following coral snake bite in the United States--first documented case (with ELISA confirmation of envenomation) in over 40 years

Toxicon. 2009 May;53(6):693-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2009.01.032.


We report the first documented death due to a coral snake (Micrurus species) in the United States (U.S.) in over 40 years. The victim failed to seek medical care following the bite of an eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) and succumbed within hours. Post-mortem proof of envenomation was obtained using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) developed specifically for this investigation. U.S. coral snakes are briefly reviewed in terms of their venom compositions, their clinical effects, and proper pre-hospital and hospital management. The clinical significance of the impending absence of commercially available antivenom for coral snake bites in the U.S. is highlighted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antivenins / therapeutic use
  • Elapid Venoms / toxicity
  • Elapidae*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Snake Bites / mortality*
  • Snake Bites / therapy


  • Antivenins
  • Elapid Venoms