Setback for girl bitten by spitting cobra

2011-12-23 16:44

Johannesburg - The condition of the 5-year-old girl from Limpopo who was bitten by a Mozambique spitting cobra had suddenly deteriorated, according to a report on Friday.

Mikayla Robbertse was going to sleep in the family home in Ellisras on Monday night when she was bitten on the hand by the snake in her bed.

According to her grandmother, Charmaine, her liver is enlarged and doctors are worried about her kidneys, Beeld newspaper reported.

She said it looks like her chest tissue had also been affected by the snake's venom.

"The doctors said if she can only pull through to Sunday.... I have asked all the children to come to Pretoria," said the grandmother.

"They told us from the start that her condition could worsen at any time."

The girl was taken from the Netcare Montana Hospital to the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria.


On Monday night, the family heard Robbertse scream and her father rushed to the room and saw the snake.

The grandparents then picked up Robbertse and drove her to the hospital while her father Bertus and a neighbour found the snake and killed it.

According to the girl's grandmother Mikayala is weak and only weighs 15kg.

The molecules in the venom of a Mozambique spitting cobra moves faster through tissue than those in the venom of other snakes, Graham Alexander, a snake expert at the University of Witwatersrand, told the newspaper.

It can necrosis away from the bite area and in the worst cases people can continue to lose tissue for months after being bitten.

  • AyGeewils - 2011-12-23 16:51

    Lets hope she recovers soon - my thoughts go out to the family ...

  • mrakuoane - 2011-12-23 17:04

    Get well fast little angel. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • Shirley - 2011-12-23 17:07

    Just hold on little one- you are going to get through this ordeal. Best wishes to her family.

  • bonginkosik - 2011-12-23 17:21

    May the lord be with her and her family...and get well soon dear!

  • Frankie - 2011-12-23 17:24

    you are in my prayers Mikayala.Get well soon little one,God Bless

  • Mbeko - 2011-12-23 17:24

    Stay strong little Angel ! and get well soon!

  • Caroline - 2011-12-23 17:25

    FRANS. Ryno, read revelations 3 verse 20

      Ryno Karelsen - 2011-12-23 17:51


      Kyle - 2011-12-23 18:15

      @Caroline - not the time to preach, even I'll drop the religious bashing at this time.... I'm sure the girl in is all our thoughts right now no matter what we believe in... as long as she gets well.

  • dgrobler1 - 2011-12-23 17:26

    Hang in Angel, Our wonderfull God is with you. We pray for you

  • Stefan - 2011-12-23 17:33

    You are in my prayers. God bless and heal you.

  • Joseph - 2011-12-23 18:41

    My God bless the life of a little one,our prayers are with you and your family.Be strong.

  • mystae - 2011-12-23 19:01

    ***Necrosis is a noun. You probably mean "It can cause necrosis away from..." All the best to the little girl. Is there no antivenom, or is she too young to receive it?

      Garth - 2011-12-24 08:31

      Because the venom of the Mozambique spitting-cobra is a `cocktail' of predominantly cyto-toxins and some neuro-toxins, it is very difficult to treat with an anti-venom. And yes, her young age makes it also very dangerous to administer more `venom', which is what anti-venom is. Strength to her and her family. The `mfezi' is a dangerous one.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-24 08:34

      I think if she had not received anti venom she would have died due to the neurotoxins. Problem is the cytotoxins seem to be less affected by the antivenom. Same happened to my Jack Russell (dog), he was bitten and within a day of getting anti venom was running around again. About 2 days later he started going yellow, and a week later we put him down as he was suffering so much due to liver failure. Very sad, I don't quite understand why the anti venom does not sort out the cytotoxins. Seen pictures of puffadder bites, gruesome, and even Violin spiders - all cyto toxic. The damage seems very difficult to stop. Obviously very nasty stuff - at least with a mamba you quickly recover if they get you before you die.

      Garth - 2011-12-24 08:59

      The problem is the `cocktail'. Mamba venom, whilst being more potent, 10-14mg is enough to kill a 100kg man, is pure neuro-toxin, so possible to treat with anti-venom, although this is not always advisable. Best treatment that they have for mamba venom is induced coma and keep you alive on a heart/lung machine until your body beats the venom. Spitting-cobra though, cyto- mixed with neuro-, never an easy one.

  • Colleen - 2011-12-23 20:10

    Your guardian angel is holding your little hand sweetie, hold on we are praying for you..

  • Ronnie Atwell - 2011-12-23 20:46

    God give her life !

  • Blossom - 2011-12-24 07:35

    The family are in my prayers.

  • Vusi - 2011-12-24 08:09

    God will take care of her

  • Simon - 2011-12-24 08:51

    You will get better.

  • Wilma - 2011-12-24 09:22

    This is so so sad :(

  • les.cunningham1 - 2011-12-24 09:33

    @mystae, Narcosis actually means tissue death. The death of cells in a tissue or organ caused by disease or injury. This little girl need the prayers and thoughts of all in this time of trauma in her life. I can't believe the thumbs down in some of these comments. What is it with some people? Hold in there little darling.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-24 11:12

      les - "necrosis" means tissue death, "narcosis is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while scuba diving at depth". (Source Wikipedia) A necrotic wound is basically a wound full of dead tissue.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-24 11:16

      I've dived to 50m, the term divers use is "narked". Sort of like being on a high. Went "down" to 60m in a decrompression chamber at Richards Bay, your voice goes all squeaky and fast (like sniffing Helium) and you giggle at everything. Thats nitrogen narcosis.

  • brenda.t.coetzee - 2011-12-24 09:40

    Hold on there little angel. All the angels are taking care to make sure you are home save real soon. I pray that God has his hand of protection over the family. You are all in our thoights and prayers

  • steven.m.armour - 2011-12-24 09:42

    Praying for you

  • Jay - 2011-12-24 10:52

    Stay strong!

  • rasepalo.kgaile - 2011-12-24 11:14

    I work in Mozambique and we see , catch snakes on daily basis.Hang in there darling...

  • paul.prinsloo3 - 2011-12-24 11:36

    So many prayers cannot be negated by the venom of a mere reptile. You hang in there, being strong and we shall do the same on this side on ou knees!

  • les.cunningham1 - 2011-12-24 12:02

    @ Chum Scrubber - you are 100% correct. Bit of finger trouble. Should have been "necrosis". I used to be a memebr of TURG (Transvaal Underwater Research Group) and am well aware of what narcosis is. Praying for this little angel.

  • billidp - 2011-12-24 15:50

    Sending Love, Light & Healing to Mikayla and Love, Light & Strength to her loved ones. Namaste

  • Ian - 2011-12-24 15:57

    Hang in there precious little one.

  • Bronwyn Fick - 2011-12-24 19:55

    Hang in there little one, thinking of you!! X0x0

  • Bronwyn Fick - 2011-12-24 19:55

    Hang in there little one, thinking of you!! X0x0

  • almie.goosen - 2011-12-24 21:25

    Mikayla is doing much better today. Thank you for all you thoughts and prayers.

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