VISAKHAPATNAM: The increase in the number of deaths due to snakebites in the district is becoming a matter of concern. As many as 951 deaths have been reported in the last three years. They are almost equal to road accident deaths in rural areas. Hospitals at far off places, poor connectivity and alleged lack of anti-venom have been the main reasons for the increase in mortality.
Last year witnessed as many as 332 snakebite deaths in the district, while in 2015 and 2014 saw 322 and 297 deaths respectively. The statistics show on an average around 317 deaths in a year and 25 every month.
According to district health and medical officials, almost all the deaths are from 11 mandals of the agency and rural areas of the district, while the city seldom reports any snakebite death case.
Sources said that every year monsoon season is ripe for the snake bite deaths and around 30 a month are reported, while in winter and summer the cases are around 10 a month.
“Last year, in September and October, there were heavy rains. As many as 107 deaths were reported in those two months,” an official said.
According to sources, the agency areas are infested with all types of poisonous snakes such as cobra, king cobra, Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper, common krait and banded krait. Doctors say if bitten by such poisonous snakes, the victims should be referred within an hour to a hospital.
“The patient has to be brought mostly within an hour and has to be administered first aid and Polyvalent antivenom dosage, said J Sarojini, the District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO).
According to the tribals, lack of road connectivity and medical facilities are the major bottlenecks in agency areas. According to the district administration, around 1,200 habitats in Visakhapatnam agency out of 3,600 do not have road connectivity. Getting an ambulance is ‘mission impossible’ to such places. “In October last, a snake bit a woman of Munchinput mandal. The PHC was around 15 km. By the time she was taken, she breathed her last.