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October 2021

Lancet. 1980 Nov; 2(8205): 1181-3.

Incidence and mortality on snake bite in savanna Nigeria.

Pugh RN, Theakston RD.

Snake bite is a major medical problem among farming communities in the Benue and Niger Valley savanna region of Nigeria. Surveys in the more densely populated northern savanna areas such as Malumfashi (incidence 48 per 100 000 population, mortality 5.1%) show that the spitting cobra, Naja nigricollis, was the predominant species of medical importance. In the less cultivated Benue Valley area the annual snake-bite incidence was estimated to be 497 per 100 000 population, with a 12.2% mortality due mainly to the carpet viper, Echis carinatus. From these findings we estimate a yearly total of almost 10 000 deaths from snake bite in savanna Nigeria and about 23 000 deaths in West Africa. To rectify this serious health problem, concerted efforts are urgently needed.

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