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Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Snakebites & Antivenom

A Florida coral snake bite got a bit tense as antivenom was delayed. (News source.)

No snakebite, fortunately, but a woman picked up a coral snake by accident in a Texas church, thinking it was a rosary. (News source.)

An Iraqi girl was helped with expert advice from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Antivenom Unit. (News source.)

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Helping Overseas

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Venom Response Team helped US Army doctors track down antivenom and treat an Iraqi officer who had been bitten by a cobra. (News source.)

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Antivenom Trouble

Turns out that saw-scaled vipers that eat scorpions are more toxic than those that eat mammals or reptiles. Antivenom currently in production only works on bites by the latter. (News source.)

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Coral Snake Antiserum Research

Details on some interesting research on antiserum for Micrurus corallinus here.

"Besides an improvement in our knowledge of the composition of coral snake venoms, which are very poorly known when compared to Old World elapids, the expression profile suggests abundant and diversified components that may be used in future antiserum formulation. As recombinant production of venom antigens frequently fails due to complex disulfide arrangements, DNA immunization may be a viable alternative.
"In fact, the selected candidates provided an initial evidence of the feasibility of this approach, which is less costly and not dependent on the availability of the venom."

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Friday, March 13, 2009


The Rescue Venom Response Unit in Miami sent 20 vials of antivenom to San Antonio for an elderly man bitten by a snake, species not given. (News source.)

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Israel: Antivenom Production

An Israeli drug production company, Kamada, is developing a snake antiserum production facility. No species in particular is mentioned. (News source.)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A woman bitten by a rattlesnake in California ended up with close to $150,000 in medical bills, with no health insurance (due to a "lack of faith" in Western medicine). (News source.)

A tiger snake bite victim is going through rehabilitation. (News source.)

A couple more Australian snake bites noted here.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009


A Kansas dog breeder used Azium to treat an alleged rattlesnake bite, as reported in this piece. The news article (an outdoors column) calls Azium an antivenom, though, which is incorrect... It may have helped with some symptomatic relief (I'm not a toxicologist or doctor, so no statements of fact here), but the columnist is doing a major disservice (and a dangerous one) in spreading false medical information.

[Update: Per a recent comment, no, I'm not going to comment on their site. I've already sent a letter to their editor. I don't believe it is up to an online "community" to correct this sort of misinformation, (at most, we can bring issues to attention, and even then, public forums are low-rung options); it is up to medical professionals to correct medical information.]

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Antivenom Bank

A profile on the Florida fire-rescue antivenom bank due to the recent king cobra bite. (News source.)


Antivenom: Act Quickly

From the news: "New evidence suggests antivenom should be given at least within an hour after a snake bite to be effective at reducing the blood thinning effects of venom."

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Monday, August 25, 2008


A teenage boy in Texas was bitten, probably by a copperhead, and successfully treated. (News source.)

Peru is planning to export freeze-dried (powder) antivenom for Bothrops, Lachesis, and some Crotalus, to other Latin American countries. (News source.)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Starting Antivenom Banks

The Palm Coast Fire Department (FL) is working to put together an antivenom bank. (News source.)


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Snakes in the News

A Nigerian woman died after being bitten by a snake while fishing. (News source.)

University of Washington and Guam are collaborating on a brown tree snake research project. (News source.)

A UK vet is warning of an antivenom shortage for adder bites. (News source.)

The rare Tucson shovel-nosed snake may be starting a political battle soon, as the USFWS is evaluating its status. (Here and here.)

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

India Snakebites

A 30-year old snake handler/rescuer was bitten by a cobra, but died due to out-of-stock antivenom at local hospitals. (News source.)

A 4-year old boy died from a snakebite. (News source.)

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Snakebite News

A California woman bitten by a rattlesnake ended up waiting in an emergency room for three hours as antivenom was delivered from another hospital. A discussion of the events here.

Four snakebites are reported from Israel. (News source.)

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Antivenom Paper

Noted on Venom-L, there is a free downloadable (pdf) paper:

The ‘‘Worldwide Shortage’’ of Antisnake Venom: Is the Only Right Answer ‘‘Produce More’’ Or Is It Also ‘‘Use It Smarter?’’

Ian D. Simpson
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 19, 99 107 (2008)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Snake Stories

A Chinese man was bitten by his pet cobra. Antivenom had to be flown from Shanghai to Beijing. (News source.)

While trying to flush out a snake from a shed, an Australian man accidentally shot and killed the woman helping him. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Coral Snake Antivenom Dwindling

Here is an article that discusses the dwindling supply of coral snake antivenom in the US (as Wyeth no longer manufactures it), and the possibility of a Mexican antivenom if the FDA would actually do something about testing it.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

PNG Antivenom Debacle Continues

Remarks made by a PNG pharmacy director (defending his company's sale of India antivenom for PNG species) have been ridiculed by herpetologists and toxinologists. (News source.)

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Friday, February 15, 2008

More Antivenom News

First, the Australian Broadcasting Commission will be screening a documentary on corruption and scamming in PNG, creating an illegal market for antivenom, and making it difficult to acquire legally. (News source.)

Second, the Echitab Study Group, with UK support, will be setting up an antivenom production facility in Gombe, Nigeria, with governmental approval. (News source.)

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