Snakebites kill more than 200 people a day around the world, but Thai firefighter Pinyo Pookpinyo was one of the lucky ones. When the tip of his thumb was bitten by a king cobra, he made it to a Bangkok hospital within 15 minutes. There, he was given a serum that stopped the venom, which can be fatal, from attacking his nervous system.
“The doctor didn’t believe at first that I was bitten by a king cobra. I had to tell him that I was an instructor teaching about snakes; I’m very good at identifying types.
“It affected me for about two months. I had to go back to the hospital to undergo surgery for another two times to remove dead tissues from my thumb.”
But most victims of snakebites don’t live so close to a hospital, nor do they have Pookpinyo’s professional knowledge of snakes. For them, a misplaced step or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be fatal.
Snakebites kill between 81,000 and 138,000 people and disable 400,000 more every year. It’s a problem that is exacerbated by a global shortage of snake anti-venom, especially in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where appropriate health-care facilities are few and far between.
According to the UK’s Wellcome Trust, a research charity, snakebites cause more death and disability than any other neglected tropical disease.
“Snakebite is — or should be — a treatable condition. With access to the right anti-venom, there is a high chance of survival,” said Professor Mike Turner, Wellcome’s director of science.
“While people will always be bitten by venomous snakes, there is no reason so many should die.” Source: CNN