Proceedings chapter
Open access

Snake-byte: first national epidemiological study on snakebite shows high annual incidences in Nepal and Cameroon

Presented at Liverpool, UK, 16-20 September 2019
  • Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; vol. 113, suppl. 1
Publication date2019

Introduction: Snakebite envenoming affects 4.5-5.4 million people and kills 81,000-138,000 victims yearly according to the World Health Orga- nization (WHO), but estimates are extrapolations, and community-based country-wide studies are very scarce. Aim: To measure the impact of snakebite on human and animal health (incidence, mortality, disability) and livelihoods in Cameroon and Nepal. Methods: This epidemiological study is part of the SNAKE-BYTE project that aims at understanding the impact of snakebite in Cameroon and Nepal through one-health, health economy, and epidemiology using digital epidemiology and geo-health tools (Kobo-collect®, Stata® qGIS®, Guru-Maps®, AccesMod®). Based on minimal expected snakebite inci- dence of 100/100,000/year, 0.05% confidence limit, design effect of 2.0, 99% confidence level, 15% non-response margin, sample size was 61,000 people per country, i.e. 11,700 households in Cameroon and 13,800 in Nepal (respectively 5.2 and 4.4 persons per household). Households were preselected from satellite images, among 500 (2x250) randomly prese- lected administrative areas, where six mobile survey teams conducted the e-questionnaires. After ethical approval by Cameroonian, Nepalese, and Swiss authorities, surveys started in November 2018. Results: Interim data analysis on 5045 households in Cameroon and 10,163 in Nepal, showed respectively 120 victims per 29,537 persons- year and 141 victims per 46,888 persons-year. National snakebite inci- dence rates per 100,000 persons-year translate to 406.3 (95%CI: 338.3, 484.0) or 65,008 victims in rural Cameroon (population 16 million), and 300.7 (95%CI: 254.1, 353.5) or 39,993 victims in Nepal's Terai lowlands (population 13.3 million). Victims were young adults (median 30/31y), often farmers, predominantly males in Cameroon (54.5%) and females in Nepal (66.4%), and 22.5% were children <15y. Snakes were seen by victims in 66%-71.2% cases, indoors or outdoors. Snakebite case-fatality ratios were high: 5.8% (n=7/120) in Cameroon, and 6.6% (n=9/141) in Nepal. About 10% received some injections, likely antivenom. Only 46.0% and 50.4% were taken to medical facilities. Multivariate analysis will model “hotspots” including demographic, clinical, ecological and socio- economic variables, and animals lost. Conclusion: This first country-wide community-based study shows very high annual snakebite incidence and mortality in rural Cameroon and Nepal. It should help health authorities to estimate antivenom needs by geographical area.

  • Snakebite
  • Epidemiology
  • Cameroon
  • Nepal
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - SNAKE-BYTE
Citation (ISO format)
ALCOBA, Gabriel et al. Snake-byte: first national epidemiological study on snakebite shows high annual incidences in Nepal and Cameroon. In: Abstracts from the 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health. Liverpool, UK. London : [s.n.], 2019. p. S67. (Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene) doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trz094
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