Nigeria sends anti-venom to north

2016-01-11 21:33
A Matilda's Horned Viper is photographed in a forest habitat in Tanzania. (Tim Davenport, Wildlife Conservation Society, AP)

A Matilda's Horned Viper is photographed in a forest habitat in Tanzania. (Tim Davenport, Wildlife Conservation Society, AP)

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Abuja - Large quantities of anti-venom are on their way to northern Nigeria as the country seeks to contain a surge in snakebites, the country's Health Ministry reported on Monday.

The donation is in response to an outcry from the people in the communities of Kanke, Panshin and Shendam, all in Plateau state, where snakebites have been on the increase since August, Health Minister Isaac Adewole said in a statement.

The ministry had sent a team of medical experts and environmental scientists to the area to investigate the cause of the snakebites.

While in the area, the team carried out a sensitization and awareness campaign to prevent and control the snakebites.

The snakebite serum was handed over at Jos University Teaching Hospital. The Zamko treatment centre in the area is treating between 80 and 120 snakebite cases per month, the centre's medical superintendent Titus Dajel.

There have been days with up to five cases, particularly during farming seasons, he said.

The ministry said the bites were from cobras, black mambas and carpet vipers.

A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases on September 23 found that more than 4 000 people die a year in West Africa from venomous snakes.

Snakebites also result in more than 5 000 amputations every year, according to the study, which was based on an analysis of 40 years of medical literature spanning 40 years.

Anti-venom can prevent or reverse the effects of most snakebites and play a crucial role in minimizing mortality.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa  |  reptiles

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