Snake Bites Kill 24 As Centre Saves 1, 805

The Snake Bite Treatment and Research Centre says it has recorded 24 deaths out of  the 1,829 cases of snake bites recorded between  January and  August.

The officer in charge of the centre, Dr Abubakar Ballah,  made this known  in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaltungo, Gombe state on Monday.

He said the 24 deaths recorded were due to the lateness in reporting cases  to  the hospital, with many of the patients admitted in critical conditions.

“Today is Sept. 10 and we have  84 patients in our records currently receiving treatment and probably more patients  will come before the month ends.

“The cases are on the increase because of the  down pour which dislodges  snakes from their holes to seek higher ground because they do not like wet environment.

“They climb trees, maize or millet to keep away from water;  that is the reason why people are severely bitten,’’ he said.

He said apart from farmers, herds men who climb trees to cut leaves  for their livestock are also at risk as well as those  who go to the bush to fetch firewood.

Ballah appealed to farmers to refrain from  staying late in their  farms, saying  snakes often come  out in the evening to look for prey.

He also lamented the attitude of treating victims at home with the use of herbs until the condition had deteriorated.

“We are calling on their relatives to stop giving snake bite victims herbs because some of the herbs cause the person to vomit, thereby making the condition to deteriorate.

“The only first aid you can give to a snake bite patient is paracetamol and  then you rush  to the hospital.

“We have drugs in sufficient quantity and enough backing by the state government.

“Even though some of the patients we receive come  from the neighbouring states, they receive  treatment free of charge like  indigenes,’’ he said.