Life s-s-s-saver? WHO launches snake venom website

May 4, 2010

(AP) -- The World Health Organization launched a website Tuesday it hopes will help cut the estimated 100,000 deaths caused annually by snake poison.

The site contains a database of approved antivenoms to treat the 2.5 million people who suffer venomous bites each year, the U.N. health agency said.

Antivenoms - antidotes developed from the venom itself - can prevent disability or death, but WHO says many are inappropriate and have led to a loss of confidence among doctors and patients, especially in tropical and subtropical countries.

"The regions that are most in need are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia," said Ana Padilla, a snake venom expert at WHO.

Apart from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania, most Sub-Saharan African countries lack the necessary labs to identify snake poisons and to produce sufficient amounts of , she said.

In Asia, the greatest needs are in Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Laos, said Padilla.

"The Americas are in a much better situation," she said, noting that even poorer countries in Latin America have their own labs.

WHO's coordinator for medicine safety, Dr. Lembit Rago, said most deaths and serious consequences from bites such as paralysis or are preventable if the proper antivenom is administered in time.

Explore further: Report: Fewer women die in childbirth

More information: WHO snake bite website: http://bit.ly/afzgEF

0 shares

Related Stories

Snakebite is a neglected threat to global public health

November 4, 2008

Snakebites cause considerable death and injury worldwide and pose an important yet neglected threat to public health, says new research published in this week's PLoS Medicine. The study used the most comprehensive methods ...

Biting back: Costa Rica experts harvest deadly snake venom

April 22, 2010

The dreaded Matabuey, a snake so fearsome its name means "ox killer," has a deadly bite that immobilizes its prey in minutes, making it the kind of creature generally to be avoided. But far from steering clear of the legless ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.