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Snake Envenoming: A Disease of Poverty

Harrison, Robert, Hargreaves, Adam, Wagstaff, Simon ORCID:, Faragher, Brian and Lalloo, David ORCID: (2009) 'Snake Envenoming: A Disease of Poverty'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 3, Issue 12, e569.

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Background: Most epidemiological and clinical reports on snake envenoming focus on a single country and describe rural communities as being at greatest risk. Reports linking snakebite vulnerability to socioeconomic status are usually limited to anecdotal statements. The few reports with a global perspective have identified the tropical regions of Asia and Africa as suffering the highest levels of snakebite-induced mortality. Our analysis examined the association between globally available data on snakebite-induced mortality and socioeconomic indicators of poverty.

Methodology/Principal Findings: We acquired data on (i) the Human Development Index, (ii) the Per Capita Government Expenditure on Health, (iii) the Percentage Labour Force in Agriculture and (iv) Gross Domestic Product Per Capita from publicly available databases on the 138 countries for which snakebite-induced mortality rates have recently been estimated. The socioeconomic datasets were then plotted against the snakebite-induced mortality estimates (where both datasets were available) and the relationship determined. Each analysis illustrated a strong association between snakebite-induced mortality and poverty.

Conclusions/Significance: This study, the first of its kind, unequivocally demonstrates that snake envenoming is a disease of the poor. The negative association between snakebite deaths and government expenditure on health confirms that the burden of mortality is highest in those countries least able to deal with the considerable financial cost of snakebite.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Toxicology > General Toxicology > QV 600 General works
QV Pharmacology > Toxicology > General Toxicology > QV 601 Antidotes and other therapeutic measures
QV Pharmacology > Toxicology > General Toxicology > QV 602 Detection of poisons. Tests. Laboratory manuals. Technique
WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WB Practice of Medicine > Medical Climatology > WB 710 Diseases of geographic areas
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Animal Poisons > WD 400 General works
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Animal Poisons > WD 410 Reptiles
Faculty: Department: Groups (2002 - 2012) > Clinical Group
Groups (2002 - 2012) > Molecular & Biochemical Parasitology Group
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Users 43 not found.
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2010 16:08
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 13:32


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