Snakebites kill at least 125,000 people every year: experts

GENEVA. May 25. KAZINFORM Every year snakebites kill at least 125,000 people and permanently disable 400,000 more, according to figures released Wednesday.

About 5.5 million people are bitten by snakes, resulting in 2.7 million cases of snakebite poisoning, tropical medicine experts said at the 69th World Health Assembly.

"It is time for the world to stop ignoring snakebites," said Prof. Jose Maria Gutierrez from the University of Costa Rica, "It is a matter of using medicine and science for what it should be used, for the wellbeing of people."

Experts attending the event said the problem of snakebites remain severely neglected and under funded by the global health community and many national governments.

"With collective action, we now have a significant opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of millions of people around the world who are suffering from snakebite, a malady that is both preventable and treatable," said Fernando Llorca, Minister of Health of Costa Rica.

Experts said the current situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan Africa where there are no supplies of safe, effective and lifesaving anti-venoms.

"The ongoing crisis in sub-Saharan Africa is denying hundreds of thousands of people access to anti-venom," said David Williams, CEO of the Global Snakebite Initiative.

"The lack of safe, effective and affordable products is costing lives and limbs every day, and victims simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the world to step in and take action," said Williams.
Source: Xinhua

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