Bothrops lanceolatus bites: guidelines for severity assessment and emergent management

Toxins (Basel). 2010 Jan;2(1):163-73. doi: 10.3390/toxins2010163. Epub 2010 Jan 22.


Approximately 20-30 declared snakebite cases occurin Martinique each year. Bothrops lanceolatus, a member of the Crotalidae family, is considered to be the only involved snake. B. lanceolatus, commonly named "Fer-de-Lance", is endemic and only found on this Caribbean island. Envenomation local features include the presence of fang marks, swelling, pain, bleeding from punctures, and ecchymosis. Severe envenomation is associated with multiple systemic thromboses appearing within 48 h of the bite and resulting in cerebral, myocardial or pulmonary infarctions. Diagnosis requires first of all identification of the snake. Coagulation tests are helpful to identify thrombocytopenia or disseminated intravascular coagulation. A clinical score based on 4 grades is helpful to assess envonimation severity. A specific monovalent equine anti-venom (Bothrofav(®), Sanofi-Pasteur, France) to neutralize B. lanceolatus venom is available. Its early administration within 6h from the biting in case of progressive local injures, general signs or coagulation disturbances is effective to prevent severe thrombosis and coagulopathy. Its tolerance is considered to be good. Despite an increasing incidence of bites, no deaths have been recently attributed to B. lanceolatus in Martinique, probably due to the currently recommended strategy of early antivenom administration when required.

Keywords: Bothrops lanceolatus; Martinique; antivenom serum; coaguloapthy; severity; snake bite.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antivenins*
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Bothrops*
  • Crotalid Venoms
  • Humans
  • Snake Bites
  • Snakes


  • Antivenins
  • Crotalid Venoms