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      Krait envenomation in Thailand

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          Three species in the genus Bungarus inhabit Thailand. Among these, Bungarus candidus (Malayan krait) is the most common and deadliest. Currently, the clinical manifestations of patients envenomed by kraits, especially Bungarus fasciatus (banded krait), have not been thoroughly investigated. This study was performed to elucidate the clinical manifestations and outcomes of patients bitten by kraits in Thailand.

          Materials and methods

          The data of krait envenomation cases that occurred during a 9-year period were obtained from the Ramathibodi Poison Center Toxic Exposure Surveillance System and retrospectively analyzed.


          In total, 78 cases of krait envenomation were included. Most patients were male (59.0%) and the median age was 28 years. All had minimal local effects. The median duration from the bite to the onset of neurological manifestations was 3 hours (range, 0.5–8 hours). Besides neurological effects, the patients also developed high blood pressure (67.4%), tachycardia (61.7%), hypokalemia (55.3%), and hyponatremia (17.6%). Severe hyponatremia (<120 mEq/L) was noted in four pediatric patients. Other clinical manifestations were bradycardia, abdominal pain, and rhabdomyolysis. The mortality rate was 6.4%, and all deaths occurred from B. candidus bites. Eighty-six percent of patients received antivenom. Most patients (75.6%) were intubated and underwent assisted ventilation for a median of 6 days (range, 1–37 days). The median length of hospital stay was 7 days. Some patients developed complications during hospitalization; the most common was pneumonia. These in-hospital complications were significantly associated with death.


          Although krait bites caused only minimal local effects, the mortality rate was still high, particularly from Malayan krait bites. Besides neurological effects, other clinical manifestations were high blood pressure, tachycardia, hypokalemia, and hyponatremia. Thus, vital signs and electrolytes should be frequently and closely monitored in these patients. Apart from antivenom treatment, adequate supportive care including management of complications might help to decrease the mortality rate.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) bite in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: a prospective clinical study, 1996-98.

          Common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) is the deadliest snake found commonly in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. In Anuradhapura, 210 farmers bitten by the common krait over a three year period were investigated prospectively from 1 January 1996. The sex ratio was equal, 110 (52%) patients were in the age group 10-30 years. One hundred and one (48%) patients were severely envenomed and needed mechanical ventilation from 12 hours to 29 days (mode two days). The bite occurred at night while the victims were asleep on the floor. In 99 (47%) situations killed specimens were available for identification. The cardinal symptom was abdominal pain developing within hours of the bite. Alteration in the level of consciousness was observed in 150 (71%) patients: drowsy in 91 (43%), semiconscious in 24 (11%), and deep coma in 35 (17%). Autonomic disturbances included transient hypertension, tachycardia, lacrimation, sweating, and salivation. These manifested in 139 (66%) patients with moderate to severe envenomation. One hundred and forty nine (71%) had hypokalaemia and 105 (50%) metabolic acidosis, anterograde memory loss in 84 (40%), and delayed neuropathy in 38 (22%) patients. Polyvalent antivenom had no significant benefit (t = 0.5) in reversing respiratory paralysis and preventing delayed neurological complications. Sixteen (7.6%) patients died and a submucosal haemorrhage in the stomach was seen at necropsy in three cases. Mortality could be minimised with early and free access to mechanical ventilation.
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              Hyponatraemia, rhabdomyolysis, alterations in blood pressure and persistent mydriasis in patients envenomed by Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) in southern Viet Nam.

              Between 1998 and 2007, 42 patients admitted to Choray hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, and to two hospitals in adjacent regions in southern Viet Nam brought the Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) that had been responsible for biting them. Half of the patients had been bitten while they were asleep. Fang marks and numbness were the only local features of the bites. Common signs of neurotoxic envenoming included bilateral ptosis, persistently dilated pupils, limb weakness, breathlessness, hypersalivation, dysphonia and dysphagia. Thirty patients (71.4%) required endotracheal intubation of whom all but one were mechanically ventilated. Fourteen patients (33.3%) developed hypertension, 13 (31.0%) shock, 31 (73.8%) hyponatraemia (plasma sodium concentration < 130 mEq/l) and 30 (71.4%) showed evidence of mild rhabdomyolysis (peak plasma creatine kinase concentration 1375 +/- 140 micro/l). None developed acute kidney injury. All the patients were treated with a new monospecific B. candidus antivenom. There were no fatalities. Hyponatraemia has been reported previously in victims of Chinese kraits (Bungarus multicinctus) in northern Viet Nam and rhabdomyolysis in patients envenomed by B. niger in Bangladesh. These features of envenoming pose new problems for the management of krait bite cases in South east Asia and should stimulate a search for the causative venom toxins. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                13 September 2018
                : 14
                : 1711-1717
                [1 ]Ramthibodi Poison Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, satriya.tra@ 123456mahidol.ac.th
                [2 ]Section for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
                [3 ]Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
                [4 ]Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, satriya.tra@ 123456mahidol.ac.th
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Satariya Trakulsrichai, Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, Tel +66 2 201 1484, Fax +66 2 201 2404, Email satriya.tra@ 123456mahidol.ac.th
                © 2018 Tongpoo et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                outcome, snake bite, clinical manifestation, banded krait, malayan krait, bungarus


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