Indexed on: 07 Sep '14Published on: 07 Sep '14Published in: Toxicon
Many species of venomous snakes are found in Iran. The most medically important species which are responsible for the most snakebite incidents in Iran belong to the Viperidae family, including Vipera lebetina, Echis carinatus, Pseudocerastes persicus, Vipera albicornuta and the Elapidae family, especially Naja naja oxiana. At least one kind of venomous snake is found in each of the 31 provinces, and many provinces have more than one venomous species. As a result, snakebite is a considerable health hazard in Iran, especially in the rural area of south and south-west of Iran. A retrospective, descriptive study of snakebite in Iran during 2002-2011 was carried out in order based on data collected from medical records of bite victims admitted to hospitals and health centers. From 2002 to 2011, 53,787 cases of snake bites were reported by medical centers in Iran. The annual incidence of snake bites in 100,000 of population varied from 4.5 to 9.1 during this decade and the number of recorded deaths were about 67 cases. The highest rate of snakebite was found in provinces of south and southwest of Iran. We suggest that people, especially in the rural areas, need to be trained and educated about venomous snakes, their hazards, prevention of bite and the importance of early hospital referral and treatment of victims. Also adequate antivenins as the main life saving medicine should be made available based on the recorded numbers of victims in each area of the country.