A Study on the Clinico-Epidemiological
Profile and the Outcome of Snake Bite
Victims in a Tertiary Care Centre
in Southern India
Dr. Halesha B.R,
Assistant Professor, Department of General Medicine,
Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences
Hassan-573201 Karnataka, India.
Background: Snake bite is a common medical emergency and an occupational hazard, more so in tropical India, where farming is a major source of employment. The available data on the epidemiology of snake bite from the Indian subcontinent are sparse. Snake bite is a neglected disease that afflicts the most impoverished inhabitants of the rural areas in the tropical developing countries.
Aims: This study was carried out to describe the epidemiology, arrival delays, clinical features, complications, and the outcome of snakebites which were seen in a tertiary care hospital of southern India.
Setting: Sri Chamarajendra District Hospital which is attached to the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka, India.
Study Design: A recordâ€“based, retrospective, descriptive study.
Materials and Methods: One hundred eighty patients of snake bite were studied from January 2010 to December 2011. The data on the demographic factors, clinical features and complications, details of the treatment which was received and the outcome of the snake bite victims were recorded and analyzed.
Results: Among a total 180 cases of snake bite, there were 108 cases of viper bite which presented with haematotoxic manifestations and 74 elapid bites had neuroparalytic manifestations. The victims were predominantly males (60.5%) and they were aged 20-40 years. A majority of the victims are from the rural areas (81.1%) and most of the bites occurred during the day time (70.5%), mainly on the lower limbs (67.2%). The highest number of cases occurred during July- September. Most of the victims were farmers (54.4%) and plantation workers (30.5%), which suggested that snake bite was an occupational hazard. A reaction to the ASV was noted in 12.7% of the patients and the mortality rate in our study was 3.8%.
Conclusion: In the tropics, snake bite is a rural and an occupational hazard among farmers, plantation workers, herders and hunters. Regular public health programmes regarding the prevention, pre â€“hospital management (first aid) and the importance of the early transfer to the hospital should be emphasized.