Challenges in diagnosing and treating snakebites in a rural population of Tamil Nadu, India: The views of clinicians

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Abstract

Snakebites cause death, disability and economic devastation to their victims, people who live almost exclusively in rural areas. Annually an estimated two million venomous bites cause as many as 100,000 deaths worldwide as well as hundreds of thousands of deformities and amputations. Recent studies suggest that India has the highest incidence of snakebite and associated deaths worldwide. In this study, we interviewed 25 hospital-based clinicians who regularly treat snakebites in Tamil Nadu, India, in order to gauge their opinions and views on the diagnostic tools and treatment methods available at that time, the difficulties encountered in treating snakebites and improvements to snakebite management protocols they deem necessary. Clinicians identified the improvement of community education, training of medical personnel, development of standard treatment protocols and improved medication as priorities for the immediate future.

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