A retrospective analysis of epidemiology, clinical features of envenomation, and in-patient management of snakebites in a model secondary hospital of Assam, North-east India

Toxicon. 2023 Jul:230:107175. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2023.107175. Epub 2023 May 29.

Abstract

Assam, a Northeastern State of India, is inhabited by several venomous snake species causing substantial morbidity and mortality. The data on the epidemiology of snakebites and their management is underreported in this region. Hence, a secondary health-based retrospective study was carried out at Demow Model Hospital, Sivasagar, Assam, to evaluate the clinical and epidemiological profile of snakebite cases reported in this rural hospital and their management. Snakebites occurring between April 2018 to August 2022 were reviewed based on socio-demographic details of the patient, clinical symptoms, and treatment using a standard questionnaire. Out of the 1011 registered snakebite cases, 139 patients (13.7%) counted for venomous bites, among which 92 patients (66.19%) accounted for viper bites (green pit viper and Salazar's pit viper), and 30 patients (21.5%) were bitten by elapid snakes (Indian monocled Cobra, banded krait, and greater/lesser black krait). A maximum number of snakebite cases (80.5%) were reported from the interior rural villages and documented from July to September (51.3%). Elapid snake envenomed patients, except one, were successfully treated with commercial antivenom, neostigmine, and glycopyrrolate. Because commercial polyvalent antivenom against "Big Four" venomous snakes of India showed poor neutralization of pit-vipers envenomation; therefore, pit-viper bite patients were treated with repurposed drugs magnesium sulfate and glycerin compression dressing. Adverse serum reactions were reported only in 3 (11.1%) cases. The preventive measures and facilities adopted at the Demow Model Hospital significantly reduce snakebite death and morbidity; therefore, they can be s practised across various states in India as a prototype.

Keywords: Black krait; Epidemiology; Indian monocled cobra; Pit vipers; Polyvalent antivenom; Snakebite.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antivenins / therapeutic use
  • Bungarus
  • Elapidae
  • Hospitals
  • India
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Snake Bites* / drug therapy

Substances

  • Antivenins