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Snakebites in Africa and Europe: a military perspective and update for contemporary operations

Abstract

Snakebite envenoming is rare among military patients, with few cases reported in recent years. Increasingly, however, military operations are taking place in remote parts of Africa, which are inhabited by numerous species of venomous snake, and in Europe, where dangerous species exist but are less common. Bites from a venomous snake may prove fatal, and therefore military medics must be adequately prepared to manage them. This paper reviews the most medically significant species of venomous snake present in Africa and Europe, before suggesting an evidence-based approach to snakebite prevention and management, including possible changes to the UK’s Clinical Guidelines for Operations.

  • tropical medicine
  • toxicology
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