Epidemiologic profile of snakebites reported by the Poison Information Center of Campina Grande, Paraíba

Accidents caused by venomous animals are still a public health problem in Brazil. Although the production and distribution of antivenom is controlled, several regions have difficulties in reporting this type of accident. Considering such fact, a cross-sectional study was carried out using indirect files on venom accidents that occurred in Campina Grande, along with 80 small towns comprising the region, from January to December 2005. The main objective was to outline a better epidemiological and clinical profile of these cases. All patients admitted to the Poisoning Information Center of Campina Grande (CEATOX-CG) had their injuries medically diagnosed as injuries caused by venomous snakes. Data collection was based on the use of a reporting form by the National Reporting System - SINAN (Sistema Nacional de Notificação de Agravo do Ministério da Saúde). Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics using Microsoft Excel 2003. A number of 737 out of 1,443 patients who received care at the medical center had their cases related to venomous animals, and 277 of the accidents had been caused by venomous and non- venomous snakes. Most accidents involved men, from 10 to 29 years of age, including peasants in rural areas, from May to November 2005. Most of the cases (71.5%) involved the Bothrops genus and upper and lower limbs, especially feet. As to severity, most of the cases were classified as mild, caused by the Bothrops genus, and only one patient died. The average length of time spent in providing care to the victims was over 12 hours in severe cases caused by Bothrops and Crotalus. Our results agree with the national epidemiological profile of snakebites, which are more frequent amongst male peasants aged from 10 to 49, affecting especially lower limbs, caused most often by the Bothrops genus.

Snake Bite; Epidemiology; Paraíba; Brazil; Snakes

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