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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 204-207

Snakebites in a Nigerian children Population: A 5-year review

1 Department of Paediatrics, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ikenna Kingsley Ndu
Department of Paediatrics, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Park Lane, Enugu
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_18_18

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Background: Snakebite envenomation is a worldwide problem, which is an important cause of death in the developing countries and still remains a neglected public health problem. Children sustain more severe toxicity from envenomation compared to adults and thus have different outcomes. Objectives: This study was carried out to review the demographics, risk factors, interventions, and outcomes of snakebite victims in the pediatric age group in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria, to improve the existing database. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive, retrospective study conducted at the children emergency room (CHER) of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH), Enugu. The admission records of all the children that were admitted into CHER of ESUTH over a 5-year period (January 2012 to December 2016) were reviewed. Analysis was mainly descriptive. Frequency distributions of all relevant variables were reported as tables and prose. Test of significance for discrete variables was done using the Chi-square test. P <0.05 was regarded as statistically significant. Results: There were 5182 admissions with 13 cases of snakebite, giving a prevalence rate of 0.25%. Late presentation was significantly associated with longer duration of hospitalization (P = 0.026, χ2 = 4.952). Five (30.8%) patients had complications distributed as follows: one gangrenous limb (7.7%), one necrotic ulcer (7.7%), and three compartment syndromes (23.1%). Prehospital visit interventions included visit to the native doctor, local incision, application of herbs, tourniquet, and black stone application. One of the patients died, giving a case fatality rate of 7.7%. Conclusions: The prehospital emergency interventions given to snakebite victims still reflect practices that are harmful. It is possible that the majority of snakebite cases in our environment do not present to the health facilities. More efforts are required to improve the health-seeking behavior and emergency interventions for snakebite victims.

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