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Treatment of snakebite in Australia: gathering the evidence

Mark Little
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (11): 723-724. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11111

New recommendations to help standardise care of people bitten by snakes in Australia

The World Health Organization has declared snakebite a neglected tropical disease. Although Australia has many of the world’s most venomous snakes, the annual rate of envenoming here is much lower than in some other regions.1 In Australia, rates of snakebite are higher in tropical areas — a prospective study in the Northern Territory estimated the rate of envenoming to be 7.6 per 100 000 people per year.2 Sadly, there were at least three snakebite deaths in Queensland in the summer of 2012–2013.

  • Mark Little

  • School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine & Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.


Competing interests:

I have recruited patients for the ASP and am listed in some of its reports as an ASP investigator. I have recently reviewed CSL’s A clinician’s guide to Australian venomous bites and stings, for which I received no payment. I teach toxicology or toxinology courses that include snakebite management around Australia and receive payment for some of these. I provide advice about snakebites through the National Poisons Information Centre.

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