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Snake bites becoming leading cause of deaths in Africa

Thousands of people are known to die from snake bites every year. While this may not appear to people as a major health concern, but it actually is. The rate is expected to accelerate in the near future if no preventive measures are executed.

Most of the deaths occurring from snake bites happen due to inadequate access to treatment facilities and general unawareness. Particularly, people try treating the issue with some traditional remedy that yields no result at all.

Some areas are more prone to this problem than others. For example, the issue of snake bites is prevalent in areas of Africa and rural India.

In West Africa alone 11,000 people died after being bitten by a venomous snake. The figures are equal to the number of deaths reported due to the Ebola outbreak in the region.

The problem doesn’t end here at all.

About four times the number of fatalities are victims who suffer from serious resulting complications.

The gist being, that snake bites should be taken seriously and all preventive measures should be timely taken.

Who are at a risk?

For any other illness, there are risk factors. Meaning by, some portion of the population are more likely to be the victims than others.

Similarly, there is a substantial risk factor for snake bites however in a completely different sense. The risk is dependent upon and varies from regions to regions.

You don’t expect people dying from snake bites in areas of Europe and North America. That certainly holds true since the cold climate makes it difficult for the snake population to survive. Although, hundreds of people still die from venomous bites in the US states of Florida and California.

The problem is much severe in Sub-Saharan regions and regions of South Asia. The inflicted rate is five times higher than those reported in Europe. Just about last year, 32000 deaths in Sub Sahara Africa were observed.

For obvious reasons, the rural communities become the center target for snake bites.  Young farmers in particular increasingly will come across venomous snakes in their field. Usually happening during dusk hours.

What makes the problem even worse is that these rural communities do not have access to proper treatment. The nearest clinic will have inadequate facilities to treat the problem. As a result, the patient has to travel a considerable distance to the hospital located in the city.

The problem of expensive medications

Any venomous snake bites typically cause three major complications.

  1. Uncontrolled bleeding
  2. Paralysis
  3. Deaths of bodily tissues

While these symptoms are fatal, nevertheless can be treated with the right medications. It is observed that it is actually not the case.

A patient who has experienced a snake bit is usually treated with medications that look to counter the tangible symptoms without going deep into the cause of it. For example, pain is likely to be countered through the use of certain painkillers. This does no good to the patient who is still at risk of further complications.

The right medications for treating snake bites are expensive and not commonly available at the medical store or hospital.

Samuel Mayer

Samuel has been part of Top Health Journal for quite a while now. He has immense interest in medicine and thoroughly enjoys writing about this theme. His philosophy is: write simple and short, always assuming your reader to be a layman who knows nothing about the topic!

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