Security guard critical after cobra attack

2010-05-04 00:00

A DURBAN security guard is in hospital in a critical condition after a Mozambican cobra sprayed venom into his eyes yesterday.

Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) armed response guard Lushen Naidoo was responding to a callout in Verulam, north of Durban, when he was attacked by the 1,5 metre cobra.

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. The venom it spits into the eyes can cause impaired vision or blindness.

Rusa director Prem Balaram said that when a family called his control room about a snake in their yard, Naidoo responded immediately.

“When he got there, the family pointed out where the snake was hiding. He asked the family to leave the yard while he searched for the snake,” he said.

It is believed that as Naidoo told the family to move into the house, the snake reared its head behind him, and attacked him. “He tripped over the snake and his glasses fell off. The snake then spat in his eyes,” Balaram said. Naidoo managed to fire a shot at the snake, which slithered off into some shrubs.

“We called the paramedics, who told us to flush Lushen’s eyes with water. Other members searched the yard for the snake,” said Balaram.

After an hour, they found the snake and killed it. It was taken to uMhlanga Hospital where it was identified. “The hospital needed it so they could use the correct anti-venom. Lushen is in a critical but stable condition,” he added.

Balaram said they often receive callouts regarding snakes in the area.

In January, three-year-old Karl Schefer of Kelso, south of Durban, was riding his bicycle when he fell on to a Mozambican spitting cobra. He was bitten on the arm.

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