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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 194-199

Clinical and demographic profile of patients with snakebite in a tertiary hospital in Ghana


1 Department of Internal Medicine, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Tamale, Ghana
2 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Tamale Teaching Hospital; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University for Development Studies, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tamale, Ghana
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Tamale Teaching Hospital; Department of Internal Medicine, University for Development Studies, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tamale, Ghana

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdul-Subulr Yakubu
Department of Internal Medicine, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Box TL 16 Tamale
Ghana
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_68_18

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Background: Snakebite is a public health problem affecting mainly rural populations. Objective: To determine the clinical pro le, manifestation, and outcome of snakebite cases presenting to the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Northern Ghana. Materials and Methods: This is a hospital record-based retrospective descriptive study of all confirmed snakebite cases recorded at the Tamale Teaching Hospital over a 2-year period from January 2016 to December 2017. Relevant demographic and clinical information were extracted from patient folders and analyzed. Results: One hundred and nineteen snakebite cases were recorded. The mean age of the victims was 26.38 years, 69.7% being male. Snakebites were recorded all year round with a slight peak in November. Most bites occurred in the interval between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM and the lower extremity was the most common site of bite (71.4%). The major symptoms of envenomation included coagulopathies (86.5%) and local swelling/ulceration (78.2%); 68.9% had both coagulopathies and local cytotoxicity. Cellulitis/infected wounds (35.3%) and anemia (21.0%) were the major complications reported. 96.6% of the snakebite cases received antivenom on presentation. There was an average delay of 36.42 h from bite before seeking hospital care. No mortality was recorded. The causative snake species was identified in only 6.7% of cases. Conclusion: Snakebite is a potentially life-threatening disease in developing countries such as Ghana and disproportionately affects rural farmers who are mostly active young males. It occurs all year round. More accurate data on snakebites in Ghana are needed for planning purposes and to ensure the continuous availability of antivenom.


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