- Recent reports in the lay press have suggested that bites by rattlesnakes in the last several years have been more severe than those in the past. The explanation, often citing physicians, is that rattlesnakes are evolving more toxic venom, perhaps in response to anthropogenic causes. We suggest that other explanations are more parsimonious, including factors dependent on the snake and factors associated with the bite victim's response to envenomation. Although bites could become more severe from an increased proportion of bites from larger or more provoked snakes (ie, more venom injected), the venom itself evolves much too slowly to explain the severe symptoms occasionally seen.
- The “crisis in anti snake venom supply” has been an enduring problem. Despite the frequency with which it appears in the literature, it remains unquantified and an enigma. If there is a serious shortage of anti snake venom (ASV), why has this not been resolved? Anti snake venoms are produced, and yet many suppliers are described as leaving the market. There appears to be a problem in the call for highly effective, high-quality, and cheap anti venoms that contributes to this result of suppliers leaving the market.
- A frequent tenet of snakebite literature is what has been described as the “worldwide shortage of antisnake venom” (ASV) and the demand for greater production. Antisnake venom is the mainstay of snakebite management, and thus this principle of “shortage” can impact the view of policy makers when it comes to framing solutions to the problem. This paper presents a model to enable policy makers to assess the amount and utilization of ASV in their areas. The model assesses ASV usage according to 2 criteria: risk and wastage.
- Snakebites continue to be a major medical concern in India. However, there is very little hard evidence of a numerical nature to enable us to understand which species are responsible for mortality and morbidity. For many decades, the concept of the “Big 4” Snakes of Medical Importance has reflected the view that 4 species are responsible for Indian snakebite mortality—the Indian cobra (Naja naja), the common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), the Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) and the saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus).