Hundreds in Cambodia survive snake bites
PHNOM PENH — The Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Health said this year had seen more than 300 people saved from snake bites after seeking timely treatment from state hospitals across the province.
As a precaution, department director Keo Sopheatra called on people bitten by snakes to seek treatment from state hospitals rather than private clinics or traditional healers.
Traditional treatment, he said, could make the snake venom spread quickly, putting a victim’s life in danger.
“In the case of a snake bite, try all means to bring the victim to the [state] hospital within three hours, so they can be saved on time. If it takes longer than that, it would be very difficult to save them,” he stressed.
Sopheatra said the province had seen a large number of people suffering from snake bites because of geographical factors, among others.
“Because much of the forest in the province has been depleted, snakes begin to hide in plantations and other places where crops are grown. So if people and farmers are not careful, they can be bitten.
“In other words, without the forest as their habitat, snakes tend to move close to people’s houses,” he said.
Of the victims who had sought treatment in the province, Sopheatra said no one had died from a venomous snake bite as there were ample stocks of anti-venom.
“The Ministry of Health has donated enough anti-venom because only the ministry has it. For our province, 100 bottles of anti-venom have been stored to prevent deaths in case we run out stock. If we are short of it, we’ll make an urgent request to the ministry,” he said.
Sopheatra said the province had used more than 400 bottles of this anti-venom a year. Each bottle, he said, cost more than $500. He pointed out that a snake bite victim had to use between three and five bottles until they have recovered from the bite.
Chan Vithy Navuth, the director of the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital in the province’s Mongkol Borei district, told The Post on Monday that his hospital had treated 152 snakebite victims, 44 of whom were women.
He said all the victims had recovered from the venomous bites after receiving timely treatment and pointed out that the majority of victims came from eastern and southern flooded areas.
“We helped save them all after they came to the hospital on time. There are two kinds of snake venom – haemorrhagic type and neurological type.
“The former makes the victim bleed profusely from their body. The latter makes them sleepy, numb and dizzy, and it causes a headache and can make them faint,” he said.
Sopheatra and Vithy Navuth advised people to exercise extra caution and always wear long rubber shoes when entering cassava plantations and the like.