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Snakebite Cohort Center

Snakebite envenomation is an important public health problem in Sri Lanka and causes considerable illness and death. Many people in the world are died of snakebites every year. Worldwide, at least 4,21000 envenoming and 20,000 deaths from snakebites occur every year. But, this could be as high as 1.8millions envenoming and 94,000 deaths. World Health Organization listed the snakebite under Neglected Tropical Disease. Thus, in Sri Lanka, a south Asian country, snakebites are common and also, there is a geographical variation in the incidence of hospital admissions due to snakebites and the biting species. Sri Lanka is considered a country with a high incidence of snakebite and snake envenoming, with an estimated 398 snakebites and 151 envenoming per 100,000 population per year. 

The inland snake fauna comprises 108 species from which, only 7 land snakes have been reported to be capable of causing severe envenoming that include Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus), cobra (Naja naja), Ceylon krait (Bungarus ceylonicus), Common krait (Bungarus caeruleus), hump-nosed pit viper (Hypnale spp.) and Green pit viper (Craspedocephalus trigonocephalus).  Out of these, hump-nosed pit viper, Russell’s viper, cobra, Ceylon krait and Green pit viper are inhabiting in Ratnapura in wet zone of the island.

Hump-nosed vipers account for the commonest cause of venomous snakebites in Sri Lanka causing 27-77% of all venomous snakebites. They mostly cause local envenoming such as pain, swelling, local bleeding, blistering, necrosis of the site of bite, lymphadenopathy and less frequently cause significant morbidities (acute kidney injury [AKI], venom induced consumption coagulopathy [VICC] and thrombotic microangiopathy [TMA]) and even mortalities

A better knowledge of snakebite epidemiology and clinical profile may help health authorities to better understanding of therapeutic requirements, especially concerning antivenoms, and thus, improve treatment of snakebites. All snakebite patients admitted to teaching Hospital Ratnapura, are studied in order to describe their clinico-epidemiology and followed up to find out long-term effects.