Journal of Pharmacy & Bioresources

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Epidemiological study of snake bite in some local government areas of Plateau State, Nigeria (1989-2001)

Ekwere Ekwere, Rosaleen McNeil, John Aguiyi, Samuel Ede


Envenomation is a common public health problem in many local government areas of Plateau state in Nigeria. Its incidence has increased over the years as reported by the outpatient departments of the General Hospitals in Shendam and Langtang local government areas. In Shendam alone, the increase  was from 192 in 1989 to 1576 in 2001 and in Langtang, 7 in 1995 to 152 in 2001. The farm  settlement areas are identified as snake infested with increased number of cases being reported every year. A seasonal pattern was observed in the study areas, peaking in January (12.2%) and between April - August (42%) for Shendam, with a similar pattern also for Langtang, although higher in Shendam. Data collected showed that snakebite incidences were frequent (80%) in the age group above 15 years in both sexes. Most of the victims (60%) were bitten in their farms, majority of which were bitten on the hand (40%), the lower extremity (50%) and other body parts (10%). Most of the victims (40%) were brought to the emergency unit more than two hours after the bite due to bad roads, for distance from the hospital and lack of transportation. Data Analysis for the study areas showed that the death rate of 304 (17.6%) from 1723 cases was alarming. This represents about one-tenth of the unreported cases of snake bite in the study areas.

Keywords: Snake bite, Langtang, Shendam, Echis carinatus

Journal of Pharmacy and Bioresources, Vol. 6 no. 2, pp. 71-77 (September 2009)
AJOL African Journals Online