07 August 2012

SNAKE BITE DEATHS

SNAKE BITE AND DEATHS IN ODISHA:
Every year thousand die due to poisonous snake bites in Odisha, many are reported others goes undiagnosed and unreported. We have antisnake venom for four common land venomous snakes of India, they are Cobra (naga), Russel’sVipers (Bada), Saw scaled vipers (small bada sapa) and Kraits (Chiti).Kraits are of different colour and size but in Odisha we have Banded Kraits and common kraites(kaudia chiti)The incidence of snake bites is highest during the end of summer and beginning of rainy season or at times due to unseasonal rains. We have transgressed in to their territory by building houses and roads as a result of which they come out of their hiding place and bite human beings. The venom is used by the snake to paralyses its victim so that it becomes easier for it to swallow plus the venom also has digestive properties for the snake. They bite human beings for self protection and majorities are accidental.
The problem with snake bite and snake bite poisoning are different. They are not synonymous A: person may be bitten by a poison snake but may not die due to many factors, A: biting over a thick cloth or on the shoe B: biting after a fight/meal C; Broken teeth D: Dry bite. We call a bite as dry bite when no venom has entered the victim.
Many die due to fright, shock, running after the bite, and not coming for treatment in time. People have wrong conceptions about snakes hence they go to quacks and snake charmers and arrive very late in hospitals and blame the doctors and authorities. A full grown Cobra & King cobra injects a huge amount of poison which is enough to kill a horse and the time taken to kill a human being may be as short as 15 minutes to one hour.
Krait bites kills person slowly but surely as the bite is usually less painful compared to vipers and cobras. Krait snake (Chiti) bites without provocations where as cobra gives warning before a bite.
The only treatment to neutralize the poison is by injecting anti snake venom which is in short supply due to various reasons. Majority of snake bites victims die due to respiratory failure and some due to internal bleeding and shock. The treatment is highly specialized and majority of doctors are not trained in snake bite and respiratory care. Most of our victims of snake bite first go to government run Primary health centers where limited or no stock of ASV is available plus there is no electricity/inverters to run a ventilator!! The doctor in peripheral villages and head quarter hospitals must be given a short course of training on how to put a tube in trachea and connect it to an Ambu bag or ventilators, before shifting him or her to a higher center. Many might not be aware that our Ex.PM’s elder sister died due to snake bite in UP. Yes, he is no other than a gentleman called ABBajpai.
From many years of experience in a tribal belt of Odisha, many doctors will agree with me that  many lives can be saved by public awareness, preventive measures and timely shifting the victim to proper place. Probably some celebrity may earn crores by projecting these deaths of innocent victims as doctor’s negligence or Government callous attitude or something else, before that our public must try to do something, because healthy people die every year due to snake bites. Our MLAs are so coward that they did not attend assembly for days together just because someone told them that-- he had spotted a snake, where as our villagers spend their life amongst snakes, rapist, thieves and ruffians. Hope Orissa Post carries this message to the people and the administrators so that many valuable lives can be saved by timely interventions in future.

SANJOY KUMAR SATPATHY
BHUBANESWAR
sanjoysatpathy@yahoo.com

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