Incidence of Australian Snake Bites

In Australia there are about 3,000 snake bites per year, of which 200 to 500 receive antivenom; on average one or two will prove fatal. About half the deaths are due to bites from the brown snake; the rest mostly from tiger snake, taipan and death adder. Some deaths are sudden, however in fact it is uncommon to die within four hours of a snake bite.

A study from the Northern Territory (found at concludes that of the 216 confirmed snakebites in the Northern Territory between 1989-1998, 63% (137 people) did not develop any other signs or symptoms besides the actual bite, and of the patients who were envenomed (79 people), only 40 (about 50%) required an antivenom. (many people present with suspected snakebites, but after examination another cause is found)

An Australian Government publication entitled “Venomous Bites and Stings in Australia to 2005” indicates that from 2002-2005, 1750 cases of venomous snake bites were hospitalised, accounting for only 15.1% of the hospitalised bite and sting cases in that period. The report also indicates that a similar number of cases (1394) were cases attributed to non-venomous snakes.

As the incidence of snakebites, as well as the mortality rate from snakebites, is very low, it is futile to attempt to analyse the data to ascertain a circumstance in which death from a snakebite is more likely to occur.



~ by pcl4 on July 23, 2008.

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