According to government sources, the number of snake bite cases in Telangana from January to first week of May in 2019 is 50% to 70% less than first five months of 2017 and 2018. Underreporting is suspected as a reason for the drop in cases.
Recently, the World Health Organisation unveiled “Snakebite Envenoming: A strategy for prevention and control”. The strategy targets reducing disabilities and deaths due to snakebites by 50% by 2030.
The strategy is based on four pillars: a) empower and engage communities, b) ensure safe and effective treatment, c) strengthen health systems and d) increase coordination, partnership and resources.
The WHO strategy seeks to reduce snakebite deaths and disabilities through a) ensuring access to treatment such as anti-venoms and ancillary medical care by increasing the number of manufacturers by 25% and creating a global antivenom stockpile and b) encouraging research on new treatments, diagnostics and health device breakthroughs.
In 2017, WHO had formally categorised “snakebite envenoming” as a Neglected Tropical Disease.
Snake bite affects 1.8–2.7 million people each year. It is a neglected public health issue in many tropical and subtropical countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Further, most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making High quality snake antivenoms accessible. They are included in the WHO List of essential medicines.