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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases

On-line version ISSN 1678-9199


ARFAOUI, A et al. Epidemiological profile of snakebites in Morocco. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis [online]. 2009, vol.15, n.4, pp.653-666. ISSN 1678-9199.

The present work aims to find the epidemiological profile of snakebites in Morocco through a retrospective study of 1,423 snakebite cases that occurred between 1992 and 2007. Data were obtained from medical charts of envenomation at the Poison Control and Pharmacovigilance Center of Morocco. Results revealed that 86% of the snakebites had occurred in rural areas and that males were significantly more affected than females at a sex ratio of 23:20. Furthermore, 35% of the bites happened during the summer, with a peak of 215 cases in June (15.1%). We also discovered that 67.3% of the patients were bitten during the day. The age group that comprised the most agriculturally active persons, from 20 to 44 years old, was the most affected by snakebites (551 cases). In terms of evolution, patients who were at least 60 years of age (8.89%) as well as those who were less than 10 years old (7.50%) presented higher mortality. According to clinical severity grades, the data revealed a 70% predominance of grade 2 cases (430). Deaths had occurred only in patients with grades 3 and 4. Furthermore, grade 4 patients presented 100% mortality whereas grade 3 registered 10.7%. The distribution of snakebites according to administrative regions in Morocco showed a predominance of the Souss-Massa-Daraa region both in terms of frequency (32%) and mortality (72.1%). Our study clearly displayed the severity and extent of the snakebite problem in the country, thus revealing that public health authorities should give more attention to this serious situation.

Keywords : snakebites; epidemiology; mortality; Morocco.

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