An outbreak of krait bite amongst people in the desert sands: the cryptic enemy within

Vivek Gupta, M. S. Mustafa


Background: Snake bite has been associated with high morbidity and mortality. Personnel are at high risk of snake bite. This investigation was carried out amongst residents with the purpose of identifying the factors that led to the bites and recommending preventive measures.

Methods: Three cases bitten by a single snake were investigated retrospectively. Historical data was collected and area reconnaissance was done. The severity of envenomation was assessed using a graded scale. Local authorities were briefed on remedial measures to prevent snake bite cases in future.

Results: The three cases of snake bite were rushed to the Primary health centre for first aid. Local signs of envenomation were absent in all cases. Two cases died before reaching the hospital. The third case managed to reach the hospital and was administered anti snake venom and put on ventilatory support, following which he recovered. Absence of local signs, along with the neurotoxic features led to the conclusion that the bite was caused by a krait. Environmental survey revealed that the village was surrounded with thick vegetation, waste disposal was being done too close to the cookhouse and snake trenches were not dug up.

Conclusions: The key for preventing fatality in snake bite is the immediate transfer of the victim to the nearest hospital equipped with anti-snake venom and ventilatory support equipment.


Anti-snake venom, Krait, Snake bite, Tents

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