How NAF Officer Was Killed By Poisonous Snakebite, What WHO Says


An official of the Nigerian Airforce was killed by a snake bite recently. The officer identified as Lance Corporal Bercy died after a poisonous snake bit her.

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The NAF officer got bitten by a snake while using the toilet in her apartment.

The death of the NAF officer has generated massive concern and fear of handling snakebites, especially in the toilets.

Snakebite poisoning has remained a major health concern in Nigeria. Scientifically known as envenomation, this condition sometimes led to death.

The World Health Organisation describes envenoming as a tropical disease. The agency says that snakebite poisoning occurs mostly in the world’s tropical and sub-tropical regions. They added that the poor are the most affected by snakebite poisoning.

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WHO said: “It is very difficult to determine the number of snakebites that occur worldwide, but the best available evidence suggests that each year as many as 2.7 million people develop a clinical illness following a bite from a venomous snake. 

“In the field of clinical toxicology, which studies snakebite and other illnesses caused by venomous and/or poisonous organisms, the term used for such an injury is “envenoming” (American “envenomation”), and patients suffering the effects of venomous snake bite are said to have been “envenomed”. Of the 2.7 million people envenomed each year, between 81,000 and 138,000 die as a result, and as many as 400 000 of the survivors are left permanently disabled.”

How to prevent snakebite

The importance of prevention should be emphasized in situations of snakebite poison. This is because a venomous snakebite poses a threat to one’s life. Below is a list of preventive measures against poisonous snakebite:

  1. Keeping the houses sealed: Reptiles are limbless animals and are capable of crawling into any place. Sealing houses is very important in tropical areas.
  2. Sleeping on raised platform with a properly tucked in mosquito net. The WHO said that mosquito net does not only prevent mosquito-related disease but snakebites.
  3. Wearing protective footwear. Walking bare-footed in areas of dense vegetation exposes a person to snakebite.

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How to treat snakebite

It is important to treat poisonous snakebites immediately. Proper treatment is also very important to treat the snakebite venom.

The WHO said that snakebite venom is best administered immediately after it happened.

Snake venoms are also highly variable in their toxic components and effects. This variation exists not only among species but often also within a single species among geographical regions, age and size classes, or between the sexes.

“As a result, antivenom raised against the venom of one species or population may not be effective in the treatment of envenoming by snakes from other species or even other populations of the same species.

“There are often barriers that complicate the task of ensuring early access to appropriate antivenom to snakebite victims, including lack of appropriate transport networks in developing countries, lack of unbroken cold chain-based distribution systems that can maintain the integrity of antivenom (which may require refrigeration) in rural and remote areas, and general lack of infrastructure associated with healthcare facilities. Surmounting these challenges is essential to effective control of snakebite envenoming.”

Source: PUNCH HealthWise

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