The Top 5 Countries with the Most Deaths by Snakebite

  Country Number of Deaths by Snakebite Death Rate
(per 100,000)
1 India 15,000 1.28
2 Indonesia 11,581 5.00
3 Nigeria 9,900 14.0
4 Pakistan 8,264 5.04
5 Bangladesh 8,000 5.04
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 Facts
  1. Snakebites cause considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Recent estimates, which are fragmentary, variously suggest that worldwide, venomous snakes cause “5.4 million bites, about 2.5 million envenomings and over 125,000 deaths annually”, “more than 3 million bites per year resulting in more than 150,000 deaths”, or “several million bites and envenomings annually with tens of thousands of deaths”. The highest burden exists in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Envenoming resulting from snakebites is an important public health problem in many tropical and subtropical countries. Research estimates that at least 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 global deaths occur each year in these areas due to snakebite. High estimates of these figures may be as high as 1,841,000 envenomings and 94,000 deaths. Based on the fact that envenoming occurs in about one in every four snakebites, between 1.2 million and 5.5 million snakebites could occur annually. (a.)
  2. Of the 3,000 or so snake species that exist in the world, about 600 are venomous. Venomous snakes—which exist on every continent except Antarctica—immobilize their prey by injecting modified saliva (venom) that contains toxins into their prey's tissues through their fangs—specialized, hollow teeth. Snakes also use their venoms for self defense and will bite people who threaten, startle or provoke them. (a.)
  3. The potentially fatal effects of being “envenomed” (having venom injected) by these snakes include widespread bleeding, muscle paralysis, and tissue destruction (necrosis) around the bite site. Bites from these snakes can also cause permanent disability. For example, snakebite victims, who tend to be young and male, may have to have a limb amputated because of necrosis. The best treatment for any snakebite is to get the victim to a hospital as soon as possible where antivenoms (mixtures of antibodies that neutralize venoms) can be given. (a.)
  4. The Global Burden of Snakebite report estimates that, worldwide, at least 421,000 envenomings and 20,000 deaths from snakebite occur every year; the actual numbers, they suggest, could be as high as 1.8 million envenomings and 94,000 deaths. Their estimates also indicate that the highest burden of snakebite envenomings and death occurs in South and Southeast Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, and that India is the country with the highest annual number of envenomings (81,000) and deaths (nearly 11,000).
  5. In the Global Burden of Snakebite report's most conservative estimate, the highest number of envenomings were estimated for South Asia (121,000) followed by Southeast Asia (111,000), and East Sub-Saharan Africa (43,000). The lowest numbers were estimated for Central Europe and Central Asia. The report estimates that, globally, at least 421,000 envenomings occur annually; this figure may be as high as 1,841,000. According to conservative estimates by country, which were used to calculate the regional estimates, India had the most envenomings at 81,000 per year. Sri Lanka (33,000), Viet Nam (30,000), Brazil (30,000), Mexico (28,000), and Nepal (20,000) were the other countries that had a high estimated number of envenomings annually. However few reliable incidence data are available from the rural tropics where snakebites occur most commonly; reliable data are mostly limited to a few developed countries where bites are rare. Thus, the true global incidence of snakebite envenoming, its impact, and characteristics in different regions remain largely unknown. (a.)
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. Kasturiratne A, Wickremasinghe AR, de Silva N, Gunawardena NK, Pathmeswaran A, et al. (2008) The Global Burden of Snakebite: A Literature Analysis and Modelling Based on Regional Estimates of Envenoming and Deaths. PLoS Med 5(11): e218. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050218
Tags: Death Statistics, Animals & Nature, Top 5 Most, India

Sources:  Anuradhani Kasturiratne, A. Rajitha Wickremasinghe, Nilanthi de Silva, N. Kithsiri Gunawardena, Arunasalam Pathmeswaran, Ranjan Premaratna, Lorenzo Savioli, David G Lalloo, H. Janaka de Silva. (2008). The Global Burden of Snakebite: "A Literature Analysis and Modelling Based on Regional Estimates of Envenoming and Deaths." Please visit the source here

List Notes: Data is for the years 2005-2008, which is the latest data available as of December 2013. Please note: deaths and death rates are high estimates. Death rate by is by venomous snake or reptile per 100,000 population. To obtain this data, the researchers systematically searched scientific literature for publications on snakebites and deaths from snakebites and extracted data on snakebite deaths in individual countries from the World Health Organization (WHO) mortality database. They also contacted Ministries of Health, National Poison Centers, and snakebite experts for unpublished information (“grey” literature) on snakebites. Together, these three approaches provided data on the number of snakebite envenomings and deaths for 135 and 162 countries, respectively.
Countries with the Most Deaths by Snakebite

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