The beauty of a national poison center system is that it enables us to follow injury data that might not otherwise be reportable—and this week, we release a great example of some injury data in children that has not been published until now—a compilation by Schulte et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-0491) of 13 years of pediatric snakebite injuries that includes some key demographic data as well as the types of snakes and the outcomes of their bites.
This article is especially interesting given new trends in treating snakebites with antivenom therapies as well as new types of exotic snakes being imported into the US as pets that may be responsible for such injuries.
One of the interesting factiles in this study is just how many pediatric snake bite injuries even get reported annually to poison center—1337 on average and close to 19,000 total for the study period involved of 2000-2013. Another interesting finding is that all 50 states reported some form of snakebite injury to an infant, child, or adolescent although almost a quarter occurred just in Texas and Florida with the highest rates for venomous snakes (making up close to 50% of all bites) found in West Virginia,
Oklahoma and Louisiana. As to antivenom use, fortunately it is more available and in turn increasing as a treatment when children are victims of this reptile’s bite. The overall incidence among pediatric injuries is still small from this type of injury—but you may still be rattled by reading the many findings shared in this interesting study—and perhaps be more aware of just what types of snakes to worry about given where you live. Read the study and learn more.