Sri Lanka

On a recent trip we met some interesting people and amazing animals, and tried to understand more about snake /human interactions in that country

Snake Bites in Sri Lanka continues to be a challenge.

“To get a truer picture of the situation in Sri Lanka, where snakebites are an important cause of hospital admission, we undertook an island-wide community survey to determine the number of bites, envenomings and deaths due to snakebite in the previous 12 months. We found that there were more than 80,000 bites, 30,000 envenomings and 400 deaths due to snakebite, much more than claimed by official statistics. ”

“Estimates of snakebite mortality are mostly based on hospital data, although these may considerably underestimate the problem. In order to determine the accuracy of hospital-based statistics, data on snakebite mortality in all hospitals in the Monaragala District of Sri Lanka were compared to data on snakebite as the certified cause of death for the district, for the 5-year period between 1999 and 2003. Data were cross-checked in a sample of hospitals and divisional secretariats within the district. Hospital statistics did not report 45 (62.5%) of the true number of snakebite deaths in the Monaragala District. Twenty-six (36.1%) of the victims either did not seek, or had no access to, a hospital. Another 19 (26.4%) had arrived at hospital, but had done so too late to receive treatment. Our study confirms the limitations of official hospital-based mortality data on snakebite.”