Amputation and disability following snakebite in Nigeria

Trop Doct. 2010 Apr;40(2):114-6. doi: 10.1258/td.2009.090266.


Snakebite is an important cause of amputation and disability in rural communities throughout the tropics. However, the details of the causes, types and estimates of disability are lacking. This report describes 16 snakebite victims who had amputations, including two who had above-knee amputations. The patients presented with limb swelling (16), gangrene (15), ischaemia (4) and three had possible compartment syndrome. All the patients used ineffective time wasting remedies that were potentially harmful as first-aid. The median delay to hospital following bite was 2.5 days. In order to prevent disability, efforts should be made to: reduce delay before hospital presentation; improve the knowledge of first-aid; provide effective antivenoms; improve wound and clinical care in communities; and improve facilities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gangrene / diagnosis
  • Gangrene / etiology
  • Gangrene / mortality
  • Gangrene / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, African Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Rural Health
  • Snake Bites / complications*
  • Snake Bites / mortality
  • Snake Bites / surgery
  • Tetanus / diagnosis
  • Tetanus / etiology*
  • Tetanus Toxoid / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Tetanus Toxoid