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Epidemiology and clinical study of snake bite in the kasempa district of northwestern zambia

, : Epidemiology and clinical study of snake bite in the kasempa district of northwestern zambia. Snake 14(2): 101-104

The epidemiology and clinical aspects of 39 historical snakebite cases admitted in 1980 to Mukinge mission hospital were studied. In only a quarter of these cases was the snake identified. Severe venom intoxication resulted from bites by elapids and viperid snakes. Most bites were during 2 seasons hot-dry and warm-wet. Bites occurred primarily from evening to midnight although there were also some bite cases in midmorning and late afternoon. The mean age of patients was 20 yr (range 4-66) and equal numbers of males and females were bitten. Most bites occurred on the lower extremities (feet, lower legs and toes). Clinical complications resulted primarily from cobra and adder bites. Delay in bringing cases to the hospital, poor antiseptic techniques and unorthodox first aid practices (prolonged use of the torniquet and cuts in an attempt to bleed the bite site) affected recovery of the patients.

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