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Bites in Australian snake handlers--Australian snakebite project (ASP-15).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22875778     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
BACKGROUND: Snakebites in snake handlers are an important clinical problem that may differ to bites in the general population. AIM: To investigate the epidemiology and clinical presentation of bites in snake handlers. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. METHODS: Bites in snake handlers recruited as part of the Australian Snakebite Project (ASP) from 2004 to 2011 were included in the study. Data were extracted from the ASP database, which included demographic and clinical information, laboratory tests and antivenom treatment. RESULTS: From 1089 snake bites recruited to ASP, there were 106 (9.7%) bites in snake handlers. The median age was 40 years (range: 16-81 years) and 104 (98%) were males. The commonest circumstances of the bites were handling snakes (47), catching snakes (22), feeding snakes (18) and cleaning cages (11). Bites were to the upper limb in 103 cases. Bites were most commonly by Red-bellied black snakes (20), Brown snakes (17), Taipan (15), Tiger snakes (14) and Death adders (14). Envenoming occurred in 77 patients: venom-induced consumption coagulopathy in 45 patients (58%), neurotoxicity in 10 (13%) and myotoxicity in 13 (17%). Systemic hypersensitivity reactions (SHSRs) to venom occurred in eight, satisfying clinical criteria for anaphylaxis in five, of which three were hypotensive. Antivenom was administered in 60 envenomed patients. SHSRs to antivenom occurred in 15 (25%; 95% CI:15-38%), including 2 (3%:1-13%) with severe (hypotensive) reactions. CONCLUSION: Bites in snake handlers remain a common, important problem involving a broad range of snakes. Neurotoxicity and myotoxicity are relatively common, consistent with the snakes involved. Venom anaphylaxis occured, despite previously being a poorly recognized problem in snake handlers. The incidence of SHSRs to antivenoms, including anaphylaxis, was not higher than that observed in non-snake handlers.
Geoffrey K Isbister; S G A Brown;
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-8-8
Journal Detail:
Title:  QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1460-2393     ISO Abbreviation:  QJM     Publication Date:  2012 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-8-9     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9438285     Medline TA:  QJM     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
From the Discipline of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Newcastle, Department of Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW and Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research and University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
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