J Forensic Leg Med 2019 04 5;63:52-55. Epub 2019 Mar 5.
The University of Adelaide Medical School, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA, 5005, Australia; Forensic Science SA, 21 Divett Place, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Australia. Electronic address:
Clinical and pathological case files of lethal snakebites were reviewed from the Magway Region General Hospital, Magway, Myanmar, over a five-year period (January 2013 December 2017). A total of 2069 postmortem examinations were performed which included 84 cases of lethal snake bite (4.1%). The annual numbers ranged from 10 out of a total of 268 autopsies in 2013 (3.7%), to 31 out of a total of 501 autopsies in 2016 (6.2%). There were 54 males (64%) and 30 females (36%) (M:F = 1.9:1; age range 5-75yrs, mean 33yrs). The most common time for lethal envenomation was August (16/84-19%), the middle of the monsoon season. 45/84 (54%) had acute renal failure, 27/84 (32%) were shocked, and the remaining 12/84 (14%) had disseminated intravascular coagulation. Twenty cases (24%) died within 24 h after envenomation. Fang marks were identified on the legs (either right or left) in 73/84 cases (87%) and on the arms in five cases (6%). The predominant findings at autopsy were of acute renal injury (82/84-98%), pituitary haemorrhage/necrosis (36/84-43%), and adrenal gland haemorrhage (30/84-36%). Despite the reduction in fatalities over the years snakebite from Russell's viper in particular remains an important contributor to mortality in central Myanmar despite the availability of antivenom.
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