Rattlesnake bite complications in 19 children

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The Western diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox, is responsible for the majority of snakebites in Sonora, Mexico. We report 19 cases of children who were attacked by these snakes. Most of the rattlesnake attacks occurred in rural areas during the summer.

The children’s ages ranged from one to 15 years. The lower extremities, especially the legs, were most often bitten. The signs and symptoms presented by these patients included: pain, edema, limitation of motion, ecchymosis, bleeding and necrosis in the area of the bite, epistaxis, hematuria, and vomiting. Hospital treatment included: parenteral electrolyte solutions, antivenom serum, antibiotics, tetanus toxoid, blood transfusions, hydrocortisone, heparin, and peritoneal dialysis. In one case a fasciotomy was necessary. The observed complications on envenomations included: hemolysis, local necrosis, coagulation disorders, paresthesia, somnolence, and acute renal failure. One death occurred from disseminated intravascular coagulation.

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