Snakebite case management: a cohort study in Northwest Ethiopia, 2012-2020

Rezika Mohammed, Johan Van Griensven, Addisu Alemu Ambaw, Tesfaye Yesuf Yimer, Kudakwashe Collin Takarinda, Edward Mberu Kamau, Maria Zolfo, Veerle Vanlerberghe

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: Timely and appropriate management of snakebites in the tropics is a lifesaver. Many snakebite patients are being bitten in remote rural areas and do not manage to get in due time to healthcare facilities. This study assessed the clinical features and the risk factors associated with treatment outcomes of snakebite patients admitted at two hospitals in the Northwest of Ethiopia.

METHODOLOGY: In a retrospective cohort study, routinely collected data from 250 patients' medical charts at University of Gondar Hospital and Metema Hospital, between September 2012 and August 2020, were reviewed.

RESULTS: The median age of the snakebite cases was 24 years (95% CI = 22-26), with 80.8% male patients. At admission 148/250 patients presented in Clinical stage 1 or 2 (local symptoms only) and 73.7% presented more than 12 hours after the bite, 80.2% received antibiotics and 79.0% antivenom. The median duration of hospitalization was 3 days (95% CI = 3-4); 72% of the patients recovered and were discharged, 10.8% died and 0.5% underwent an amputation. On logistic regression analysis, residence in rural areas (AOR = 2.52, 95 % CI = 1.2-5.3), sign of bacterial superinfection on the bite site (AOR = 4.69. 95% CI = 1.4-15.4), clinical stage 3 or 4 with systemic symptoms or toxic signs at admission (AOR = 4.84, 95% CI = 1.3-18.0) and no treatment with antivenoms (AOR = 6.65, 95% CI = 1.6-27.7) were associated with bad outcome (death, amputation and/or referred/ went against medical advice).

CONCLUSIONS: Timely presentation at early clinical stage, appropriate clinical management and availability of antivenoms are cornerstones to reduce snakebite morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Infection in Developing Countries
Issue number8.1
Pages (from-to)52S-59S
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Antivenins/therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethiopia/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Snake Bites/diagnosis


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