Incidence of snakebites in Can Tho Municipality, Mekong Delta, South Vietnam-Evaluation of the responsible snake species and treatment of snakebite envenoming.PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 06; 14(6):e0008430.PN
Data on incidence of snakebites and the responsible snake species are largely missing in Vietnam and comprehensive national guidelines for management of snakebite envenoming are not yet available. They are needed to estimate the scope of this health problem, to assess the demand for snake antivenom and to ensure the best possible treatment for snakebite victims.
A cross-sectional community-based survey was conducted from January to April 2018. Multistage cluster sampling was applied and snakebite incidence in Can Tho municipality, excluding two central districts of Can Tho city, was calculated at 48 (95%-confidence interval (CI): 20.5-99.8) snakebites per 100,000 person-years. Seven snakebite victims found during the survey reported 3 bites from green pit vipers and 4 bites from non-venomous snakes. In 2017 two treatment centres for snakebite envenoming in Can Tho city, the Military Hospital 121 and the Paediatric Hospital, received 520 admissions of snakebite victims. Two hundred sixty-seven came from Can Tho Municipality and 253 from neighbouring provinces. According to these data, the incidence of snakebites for Can Tho municipality was calculated at 21 (95%-CI: 18.5-23.7) snakebites per 100,000 person-years. Incidence was 14 (95%-CI: 12-17) snakebites per 100,000 person years in those 7 districts of the municipality which were part of the community survey. Green pit vipers were responsible for 92% of snakebite envenoming. Antivenom, antibiotics and corticosteroids were administered to 405 (90%), 379 (84%), and 310 (69%) out of 450 patients, respectively.
Incidence of snakebites in Can Tho Municipality is relatively low and green pit vipers are responsible for the vast majority of bites. Approximately one third of snakebite patients sought medical care in hospitals and although hospital data still underestimate the real incidence of snakebites, these statistics are valuable and can be obtained fast and inexpensively. Evaluation of patients' records indicates the need for development of guidelines for management of snakebite envenoming in Vietnam to ensure a rational use of antivenom and ancillary treatments.