*Bites 20,000 Every Year
Are you scared of snakes? If yes, this news is for you. Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said there is need for everyone to be on the look out for the verminous reptiles as according to him, they have bitten no less than 20, 000 Nigerians out of which 2,000 lost their lives every other year.
The minister who made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while briefing the press on the 2021 International Snakebite Awareness Day, ISBAD, also disclosed that no less than 2,000 Nigerians had their one leg or arm amputated just so they don’t loose their lives to the crawling monsters.
“Nigeria records an average of 15,000 – 20,000 cases of snakebite every year, with about 2,000 people killed and between 1,700 and 2,000 people having one leg or arm amputated, to save their lives after a snakebite, “Mamora said.
The minister pointed out that the Nigerian figure is scary hence it is generally believed it has reached an epidemic proportion. For the same reason, the country is ranked among the worst affected.
Senator Mamora added that an aggregate overview of the global situation is even more scary as, according to him, 5.4 million people are bitten across the world every year out of which 2.7 million get a dose of the reptiles’ venomous dose resulting in poisoning, medically referred to as envenomation, which had, for long, constitute a major public health problem in Nigeria, particularly in rural areas.
The minister pointed out that though certain species of snakes are non venomous, Nigeria has three dangerous types namely, Cobra or Naja nigricollis, Puff Adder or Bitis arietans and the Carpet Viper or Echis ocellatus, responsible for snake bite poisoning. He singled out the viper as the one responsible for about 90% of bites and 60% of snakebite deaths.
“Snakebite affects the lives of many people and most of the victims are rural women, children, peasant farmers, herdsmen and hunters.
“A most recent survey, conducted in 2013 by Habib et all, showed that snakebites in Nigeria occur at 497 cases per 100,000 people. The Carpet Viper is the one responsible for most, about 90% of bites and 60% of snakebite deaths,” he pointed out.
Snake bites in Nigeria, the minister added, is most prevalent during planting and harvest seasons as farmers work on their farms, emphasizing that Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Enugu, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau and Taraba states as parts of the country where incidents of snake bites are most rampart.
“The cases increased recently because of excessive rainfall, leading to more morbidity and deaths connected with inadequate quantities of anti-snake-venom.
“States with the most cases of snakebites in Nigeria are: Gombe, Plateau, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kogi, Kebbi, Oyo, Benue and Taraba, “ he stated
“About 5 million people in the world are bitten every year by snakes. Up to 2.5 million people that suffer poisoning or envenomation.
“At least a hundred thousand of them die from the bites and about 300,000 amputated or suffer other permanent disabilities caused by snake bitee.”