2002, Number 5
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ABSTRACTWithin the zoological class of reptiles exist orders of ophidians and saurians, that is to say the genus of snakes. They are commonly grouped into one family creating a fear of all of them, as they are believed to be equally venomous. Among the 3,000 different species of snakes, only one sixth are truly venomous, some are terrestrial, others aquatic. According to the WHO registers, snake bites account for 40,000 deaths each year worldwide, although in reality the real fear is partially exaggerated since half of these deaths occur in India.
The widely known families of snakes in Mexico are the rattlesnakes, coral snakes and nauyacas (known by various common names such as deaf person, four noses and yellow beard). According to statistics from the Mexican Institute of Social Security, the number of people bitten in the Republic of Mexico is around 500 to 700 per year. However, the mortality rate is low because not all of the snakes are venomous, and those that are do not always inject venom to kill. The mortality rate is also reduced thanks to appropriate treatment being administered in a timely fashion. This article describes in detail both the local and general symptomatology, as well as the time it takes for the signs and symptoms to appear. In addition, treatment guidelines are outlined for the various grades of poisoning, the different attacking species, the site of the bite, the elapsed time following a bite, the general and local symptoms and the changes seen in laboratory analyses.
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