Bit­ten? There’s an app for that

Shepparton News - Country News - - MAN’S BEST FRIEND -

For hu­mans, most snakebite vic­tims are male, bit­ten in the warmer months of the year and most bites oc­cur in or near homes.

The brown snake caused 23 of the 35 snakebite-re­lated deaths recorded be­tween 2000 and 2016 by the Na­tional Coro­nial Information Ser­vice.

Pub­lic health ex­pert at the Aus­tralian Venom Re­search Unit at the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, Ronelle Wel­ton led the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Tox­i­con.

It shows that mor­tal­ity rates, while low, have re­mained steady for more than 30 years.

Col­lapse and car­diac ar­rest were com­mon, despite im­proved ac­cess to health care and con­tem­po­rary clin­i­cal re­search.

Dr Wel­ton said the re­view chal­lenged widely-held as­sump­tions.

‘‘While the per­cep­tion re­mains that snakebite in­ci­dents oc­cur in ru­ral ar­eas, we found that nearly half the in­ci­dents oc­curred in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment,’’ Dr Wel­ton said.

Most in­ci­dents oc­curred in warmer sea­sons when snakes were more ac­tive. Most bites oc­curred on limbs, and up to seven peo­ple (one fifth of fa­tal vic­tims) were re­ported to have been bit­ten while try­ing to pick up snakes.

Dr Wel­ton said the re­port con­tained im­por­tant take­home mes­sages, par­tic­u­larly regarding the im­pact of brown snakes mov­ing into ar­eas usu­ally oc­cu­pied by other species, such as tiger snakes.

‘‘Peo­ple should not at­tempt to pick up snakes, and need to be en­cour­aged to prac­tice ap­pro­pri­ate first aid and know CPR,’’ Dr Wel­ton said.

‘‘This information will help in­form us about what ed­u­ca­tional information is needed, par­tic­u­larly in our ur­ban towns and cities.’’

The AVRU is work­ing with an­tivenene pro­ducer Se­qirus to up­date a smart­phone app, the Aus­tralian Bites and St­ings app, avail­able for both An­droid and Ap­ple smart­phones.

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