• Identifying the snake: First scoping review on practices of communities and healthcare providers confronted with snakebite across the world

      Bolon, I; Durso, A; Botero Mesa, S; Ray, N; Alcoba, G; Chappuis, F; Ruiz de Castañeda, R (Public Library of Science, 2020-03-05)
      BACKGROUND: Snakebite envenoming is a major global health problem that kills or disables half a million people in the world's poorest countries. Biting snake identification is key to understanding snakebite eco-epidemiology and optimizing its clinical management. The role of snakebite victims and healthcare providers in biting snake identification has not been studied globally. OBJECTIVE: This scoping review aims to identify and characterize the practices in biting snake identification across the globe. METHODS: Epidemiological studies of snakebite in humans that provide information on biting snake identification were systematically searched in Web of Science and Pubmed from inception to 2nd February 2019. This search was further extended by snowball search, hand searching literature reviews, and using Google Scholar. Two independent reviewers screened publications and charted the data. RESULTS: We analysed 150 publications reporting 33,827 snakebite cases across 35 countries. On average 70% of victims/bystanders spotted the snake responsible for the bite and 38% captured/killed it and brought it to the healthcare facility. This practice occurred in 30 countries with both fast-moving, active-foraging as well as more secretive snake species. Methods for identifying biting snakes included snake body examination, victim/bystander biting snake description, interpretation of clinical features, and laboratory tests. In nine publications, a picture of the biting snake was taken and examined by snake experts. Snakes were identified at the species/genus level in only 18,065/33,827 (53%) snakebite cases. 106 misidentifications led to inadequate victim management. The 8,885 biting snakes captured and identified were from 149 species including 71 (48%) non-venomous species. CONCLUSION: Snakebite victims and healthcare providers can play a central role in biting snake identification and novel approaches (e.g. photographing the snake, crowdsourcing) could help increase biting snake taxonomy collection to better understand snake ecology and snakebite epidemiology and ultimately improve snakebite management.
    • Novel transdisciplinary methodology for cross-sectional analysis of snakebite epidemiology at national scale.

      Alcoba, G; Ochoa, C; Martins, SB; Ruiz de Castaneda, R; Bolon, I; Wanda, F; Comte, E; Subedi, M; Shah, B; Ghimire, A; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2021-02-12)
      Background: Worldwide, it is estimated that snakes bite 4.5-5.4 million people annually, 2.7 million of which are envenomed, and 81,000-138,000 die. The World Health Organization reported these estimates and recognized the scarcity of large-scale, community-based, epidemiological data. In this context, we developed the "Snake-Byte" project that aims at (i) quantifying and mapping the impact of snakebite on human and animal health, and on livelihoods, (ii) developing predictive models for medical, ecological and economic indicators, and (iii) analyzing geographic accessibility to healthcare. This paper exclusively describes the methodology we developed to collect large-scale primary data on snakebite in humans and animals in two hyper-endemic countries, Cameroon and Nepal. Methodology/principal findings: We compared available methods on snakebite epidemiology and on multi-cluster survey development. Then, in line with those findings, we developed an original study methodology based on a multi-cluster random survey, enhanced by geospatial, One Health, and health economics components. Using a minimum hypothesized snakebite national incidence of 100/100,000/year and optimizing design effect, confidence level, and non-response margin, we calculated a sample of 61,000 people per country. This represented 11,700 households in Cameroon and 13,800 in Nepal. The random selection with probability proportional to size generated 250 clusters from all Cameroonian regions and all Nepalese Terai districts. Our household selection methodology combined spatial randomization and selection via high-resolution satellite images. After ethical approval in Switerland (CCER), Nepal (BPKIHS), and Cameroon (CNERSH), and informed written consent, our e-questionnaires included geolocated baseline demographic and socio-economic characteristics, snakebite clinical features and outcomes, healthcare expenditure, animal ownership, animal outcomes, snake identification, and service accessibility. Conclusions/significance: This novel transdisciplinary survey methodology was subsequently used to collect countrywide snakebite envenoming data in Nepal and Cameroon. District-level incidence data should help health authorities to channel antivenom and healthcare allocation. This methodology, or parts thereof, could be easily adapted to other countries and to other Neglected Tropical Diseases.
    • Snakebite and snake identification: empowering neglected communities and health-care providers with AI

      De Castaneda, RR; Durso, AM; Ray, N; Fernandez, JL; Williams, DJ; Alcoba, G; Chappuis, F; Salathe, M; Bolon, I (Elsevier, 2019-09-01)
    • Vulnerability to snakebite envenoming: a global mapping of hotspots

      Longbottom, J; Shearer, FM; Devine, M; Alcoba, G; Chappuis, F; Weiss, DJ; Ray, SE; Ray, N; Warrell, DA; Ruiz de Castañeda, R; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-07-12)
      Snakebite envenoming is a frequently overlooked cause of mortality and morbidity. Data for snake ecology and existing snakebite interventions are scarce, limiting accurate burden estimation initiatives. Low global awareness stunts new interventions, adequate health resources, and available health care. Therefore, we aimed to synthesise currently available data to identify the most vulnerable populations at risk of snakebite, and where additional data to manage this global problem are needed.