Snake venom Web site launched
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:01 pm
GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization launched a Web site today it hopes will help cut the estimated 100,000 deaths caused annually by snake poison.
The site contains a database of approved antivenoms to treat the 2.5 million people who suffer venomous bites each year, the U.N. health agency said.
Antivenoms — antidotes developed from the venom itself — can prevent disability or death, but WHO says many are inappropriate and have led to a loss of confidence among doctors and patients, especially in tropical and subtropical countries.
“The regions that are most in need are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia,” said Ana Padilla, a snake venom expert at WHO.
Apart from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania, most Sub-Saharan African countries lack the necessary labs to identify snake poisons and to produce sufficient amounts of antivenom, she said.
In Asia, the greatest needs are in Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Laos, said Padilla.
“The Americas are in a much better situation,” she said, noting that even poorer countries in Latin America have their own labs.
Published in The Messenger 5.4.10