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Injury Prevention and Safety

Snake bites

10/31/2006

Question:

How many people die each year due to snake bites?

Answer:

There are 120 types of snakes indigenous to the US and of them, only 20 are venomous. Of all venomous snake bites, about 25% are "dry bites" where the victim does not receive any snake venom.

Public health experts state that there are about 2,000 reported snake bites each year in the US, but they believe the actual number is closer to 8,000 due to under-reporting. Only 5-6 are fatal. Children, the elderly, and victims not receiving anti-venom are the most likely to die. However, survivors of venomous snake bites are likely to lose significant function in extremities, even with prompt treatment with anti-venom.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University