Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
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Snake bites in Nigeria: A study of the prevalence and treatment in Benin City

Eric K. I. Omogbai, Zuleikha A. M. Nworgu, Michael A. Imhafidon, Anwakang A. Ikpeme, David O. Ojo and Charles N. Nwako

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Trop J Pharm Res, June 2002; 1(1): 39-44

Abstract Full-Text

Purpose: Although snake bites occur frequently in Benin City, the prevalence has not been documented. This study was therefore done to determine the prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and the orthodox treatment of victims.

Methods: The study was retrospective and data on victims of snake bite covering a period of twenty years were obtained from the records as contained in the individual patients’ case files available at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Central Hospital, Benin City.

Results: Males were twice more often bitten than females, and teenagers and youths in their early twenties constituted the peak age range of victims. Most victims (59.5%) were bitten in the bush or farm. The limbs were the commonest sites of bite with the feet (73.5%) and arms (20.9%) more frequently bitten; both the upper and lower right limbs were also more frequently bitten than the corresponding left limbs. All patients who showed symptoms of envenomation (68.3%) received polyvalent antivenom, 67.4% received antibiotics while over 90% of patients received antitetanus prophylaxis. Some of the patients (61.5 %) were treated with analgesics, while 17.2% and 82.3% received diazepam and intravenous fluids, respectively. Although there was a high degree of morbidity as shown by the long stay of many patients in the hospital (mean duration of stay by patients in hospital is 5.7±5.1 days; range <1-23 days), mortality was not recorded.

Conclusion: It is concluded that there is a high prevalence of snake bites with high morbidity especially among the very active youthful segment of the Benin City population.

Key words: Snakebite, prevalence, treatment, Benin City.

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Last updated: August 2002