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The hidden health crisis that kills 200 people a day

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Snakebites kill more than 200 people a day around the world, but Thai firefighter Pinyo Pookpinyo was one of the lucky ones.

Axar.az reports citing CNN.

When the tip of his thumb was bitten by a king cobra, he made it to a Bangkok hospital within 15 minutes. There, he was given a serum that stopped the venom, which can be fatal, from attacking his nervous system.

"The doctor didn't believe at first that I was bitten by a king cobra. I had to tell him that I was an instructor teaching about snakes; I'm very good at identifying types.

"It affected me for about two months. I had to go back to the hospital to undergo surgery for another two times to remove dead tissues from my thumb."

Snakebites kill between 81,000 and 138,000 people and disable 400,000 more every year. It's a problem that is exacerbated by a global shortage of snake anti-venom, especially in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where appropriate health-care facilities are few and far between.

The current method has changed little since the 19th century: Venom is extracted from a snake and administered to a horse or other animal in small doses to evoke an immune response. The animal's blood is drawn and purified to obtain antibodies that act against the venom.

In addition to making better anti-venoms, WHO plans to focus on strengthening health-care systems, prevention and education, making sure people can recognize the poisonous snakes in their communities and making simple changes in behavior such as wearing shoes.

Date
2019.05.23 / 18:16
Author
Axar.az
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