Toxicology

Anti-venom: Snake bite

Sri Lanka has one of the highest snakebite rates in the world. Approximately 95% of the mortality associated with snakebites are due to the highly venomous cobra, Russell’s viper and kraits. In the year 2000, over 37 000 patients were treated for snakebite in Sri Lankan government hospitals. The national figure for snakebite is likely to be much higher, as many of the victims do not have the opportunity for or do not seek hospital treatment. Hospital mortality has fallen greatly over the last 15 years from a hospital case fatality rate of 3.5% in 1985 to 0.5% in 2000.