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Epidemiological studies of the habu in the amami islands japan


, : Epidemiological studies of the habu in the amami islands japan. Snake 10(1): 65-66, 100

The habu [Trimeresurus sp.] is a venomous snake whose bite is a serious health problem for the inhabitants of Amami and Ryukyu Archipelago (north of Japan). Many cases of habu bite are reported to occur in these infested areas every year. The purpose of the present joint study is to confirm the possible underlying mechanism of the epidemiology of the habu bite. From 1967 to 1976, 1673 cases of habu bite, including 20 deaths, occurred in both Amamioshima and Tokunoshima. The patterns of the seasonal, diurnal and geographical distribution of the habu bite clearly reflected both human and habu activity. The body-parts most frequently attacked by the habu are the extremities, suggesting that almost all of the habu bites occurring in the Amami Islands may be prevented if these body-parts are effectively protected by long leather boots or heavy gloves. The population at risk was approximately 35% of the total local population. The annual incidence of habu bites in Amamioshima tended to decrease each year while that in Tokunoshima stayed almost the same. A field survey of the habitats of habus was carried out in Tokunoshima. The habu is wild in its habitat in principle but often invades farm, road and even human dwellings for its food. From an ecological point of view, the problems of the population density, mobility and geographical distribution of habus were discussed. A model experiment was proposed to evaluate the efficiency of a barrier for preventing habu invasion.

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