Cobra bites toddler who fell from bike on to it

2010-01-12 00:00

A TODDLER is in a serious condition in a Durban hospital after being bitten by a poisonous snake.

It is believed three-year-old Karl Schefer from Kelso, south of Durban, fell off his bicycle on to the snake. He was bitten on the arm.

His parents rushed him to Netcare Kingsway Hospital where he was treated before being moved to Parklands Hospital. His father said he is receiving anti-venom treatment and should recover soon.

Dr Kevin McEwen, an expert in snake-bite treatment at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, said he believes a Mozambican spitting cobra could have bitten the boy.

“The snake was broad and did not have a pattern on its back which fits the Mozambican spitting cobra’s description.”

According to www.africanreptiles.co.za, the Mozambican spitting cobra is probably the most dangerous snake after the mamba. Its bite causes severe local tissue destruction. Venom to the eyes can cause impaired vision or blindness.

“The boy should make a speedy recovery on condition that he receives the correct anti-venom treatment,” he said.

In a separate incident, McEwen treated a snake handler who was bitten by an exotic monocled cobra. Its venom is so toxic it can immediately break down the victim’s organs and muscles. It is believed he was milking the cobra when he was bitten. He is recovering in St Augustine’s intensive care unit.

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