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Bangladesh steps up efforts to raise awareness of snake bite as cases surge

Bangladesh steps up efforts to raise awareness of snake bite as cases surge

Bangladesh steps up efforts to raise awareness of snake bite as cases surge

Bangladesh steps up efforts to raise awareness of snake bite as cases surge

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  • Bangladesh is addressing a rise in snake bite incidents due to fear and misinformation.
  • A survey by the Ministry of Health recorded around 7,000 deaths out of 400,000 snake bite incidents in 2022.
  • Russell’s viper, a common species in South Asia, has become a major topic on social media.
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On Sunday, an official announced that Bangladesh is actively working to raise nationwide awareness about snake bites amid a rise in such incidents across the country.

According to the World Health Organization, snakes bite an estimated 5.4 million people worldwide each year, with over half bitten by venomous snakes, resulting in approximately 100,000 deaths. Snake bites in South Asia account for nearly 70 percent of this death toll.

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Bangladesh recorded around 7,000 deaths out of 400,000 snake bite incidents that occurred in 2022.

“The incidents of snake bites are a concerning issue for us, as people are getting frightened over it. And snake biting incidents have indeed increased in the country,” Dr. Mohammad Nurul Islam, a program manager at the ministry’s directorate general of health services, told the news.

Though officials have yet to compile current data on snake bites, hospitals across Bangladesh have reported an increase in snake bite cases.

Islam attributed the rising number of snakes to an ongoing breeding season that began in April and is expected to end in September. He added that the snakes are also moving with water hyacinth floating plants during the rainy season.

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“Besides, as an impact of climate change different types of snakes’ infestations will increase and it’s part of a global trend,” he added.

Recent weeks have seen many incidents of snake bites, some involving the Russell’s viper—a species commonly found in South Asia—become a major topic on Bangladeshi social media.

Islam mentioned that Russell’s vipers, with their drab coloring, can be hard to spot in the dense undergrowth of agricultural fields. He added that the viper does not bite unless attacked and is “very lazy in nature.” Therefore, people working outdoors must remain alert and take precautions to avoid being bitten by this species.

However, authorities are hoping to tackle the growing misinformation Bangladeshis are receiving through social media by conducting official awareness campaigns.

“We are working on providing treatment as well as removing fear from people’s minds by delivering the right information,” he said.

Health officials are instructing people to go to the hospital immediately after a snake bite, as most victims survive if treated quickly with anti-venom.

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“It should be done without any delay. Here, people shouldn’t waste time with the local quack doctors,” Islam said. “All our government hospitals and medical colleges across the country are equipped with enough antivenom to deal with the snake-bitten patients. It’s being provided to patients at free of cost also.”

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