Snakebites Kill At Least 125,000, Disable 400,000 People Every Year

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GENEVA – Every year snakebites kill at least 125,000 people and permanently
disable 400,000 more, according to figures released Wednesday.

About 5.5 million people are bitten by snakes, resulting in 2.7 million
cases of snakebite poisoning, China’s Xinhua news agency quoted tropical
medicine experts as saying at the 69th World Health Assembly.

“It is time for the world to stop ignoring snakebites,” said Prof Jose Maria
Gutierrez from the University of Costa Rica. “It is a matter of using medicine
and science for what it should be used, for the wellbeing of people.”

Experts attending the event said the problem of snakebites remain severely
neglected and underfunded by the global health community and many national
governments.

“With collective action, we now have a significant opportunity to
dramatically improve the lives of millions of people around the world who are
suffering from snakebite, a malady that is both preventable and treatable,” said
Fernando Llorca, Minister of Health of Costa Rica.

Experts said the current situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan
Africa where there are no supplies of safe, effective and lifesaving
anti-venoms.

“The ongoing crisis in sub-Saharan Africa is denying hundreds of thousands
of people access to anti-venom,” said David Williams, CEO of the Global
Snakebite Initiative.

“The lack of safe, effective and affordable products is costing lives and
limbs every day, and victims simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the
world to step in and take action,” said Williams. – Bernama

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