In Israel, Vipera palaestinae (V. palaestinae) is the most common venomous snake, accounting for 100-300 reported cases of envenomation every year. However, V. palaestinae snakebites in children have not been extensively investigated. The demographic features, treatment and outcome of V. palaestinae envenomation in 37 children treated in two medical centers over a 9 year period were retrospectively reviewed. The victims age ranged from 2-18 years with a mean age of 8.9 years. Twenty-nine children were males and eight were females. Twenty-one patients resided in rural areas, and 16 children were living in urban areas. Twenty-three (63%) of the patients were bitten on the lower limb; Twelve (33%) on the upper limb, and two on the head or neck (4%). Using a grading scale of one to three from minimal to severe envenomation, 15 (40.5%), 15 (40.5%) and 7 (19%) patients had mild, moderate and severe envenomation, respectively. Major complications of envenomation that were manifested after arrival consisted of compartment syndrome (two patients) and respiratory dysfunction (two patients). Specific monovalent antiserum for the treatment of V. palaestinae bite was given to 16 children (43%) of whom, four patients were in the severe group, seven and five in the moderate and mild groups respectively. No patient suffered a significant infection, tissue loss, permanent disability or death. We conclude that early ICU admission along with close monitoring and antivenom therapy is important in reducing morbidity and mortality in children systemically envenomed by V. palaestinae.
- Antivenom treatment
- Vipera palaestinae