Cases of snakebite on the rise with the onset of summerWith the country under lockdown and the state mechanism concentrating on combating the possible outbreak of Covid-19, experts worry treatment of snakebite patients may face hurdles.
The onset of summer sees a rise in the number of snakebite cases in Bharatpur Hospital in Chitwan district.
With the country under lockdown and the state mechanism concentrating on combating the possible outbreak of Covid-19, experts worry treatment of snakebite patients may face hurdles.
According to Liladhar Paudel, the information officer at Bharatpur Hospital that provides treatment to snakebite patients, as many as 11 people have visited the hospital in the past month seeking treatment for snakebites.
“One of the patients was in a critical condition and had to be admitted to the ICU,” he said. Among the 11 patients who visited the hospital for snakebite treatment, four were from Chitwan; three from Nawalparasi; and two each from Dhading and Lamjung. All the patients returned home following treatment, said the hospital.
According to Paudel, 90 snakebite patients visited the hospital last year and among them, 41 were from Nawalparasi alone.
“Timely treatment is crucial in snakebite cases but with transportation closed, it is difficult for a patient to reach hospitals on time,” said Deb Prasad Pandey, an expert on poisonous snakes. “There will be many cases of snakebites with summer here, as snakes become active with the increase in temperature.”
Pandey warns that a snakebite may lead to death if he/she is not taken to a hospital immediately.
“A snakebite patient should be taken to a hospital as soon as possible. And there should be no delay in the patient’s treatment,” he said.
According to Pandey, who has carried out several researches on snakes and snakebite treatment, several species of venomous snakes are found in the Tarai region and some hilly districts with low altitude.
“In Nepal, all snakebite patients are treated with the same type of anti-snake venom. So the treatment may not be effective in all cases,” said Pandey, “Around 10 to 30 percent of snakebite patients die even after being taken to the hospital on time.”
Most of the snakebite incidents happen while people are working in the field. Pandey advises people to wear thick gloves and boots while in the fields.
“But some snake species like Krait may sneak into the house, even on the bed,” he added.
Bharatpur Hospital, a public health institution in Chitwan, has a four-bed emergency ward dedicated to snakebite treatment, according to Paudel.
“We also have an ICU facility and have the required medicines to treat snakebites,” he said.