SNAKE bites prompt one or two calls every week to the UK’s specialist poisoning service.
During 2004-10, the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) received 510 such calls. Two in five cases involved “envenoming”, where the fangs inject poison into a person’s bloodstream. Eighty-five of the cases required anti-venom.
Half of the inquiries concerned adder bites, an audit published in the Emergency Medicine Journal showed. The adder is Britain’s only venomous snake. However, the researchers from Cardiff added that a quarter of bites were from exotic snakes held in captivity.
The authors also cautioned that the true incidence of snakebite injuries across the UK remained unclear due to under-reporting.