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Bothrops asper (Viperidae) Snakebite and Field Researchers in Middle America

David L. Hardy, Sr.
Biotropica
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 198-207
DOI: 10.2307/2388809
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388809
Page Count: 10
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Bothrops asper (Viperidae) Snakebite and Field Researchers in Middle America
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Abstract

The problem of pitviper bite in field researchers working in Middle America (Mexico to Panama) was studied using case histories of nine biologists and one project employee bitten during the period of 1980 to 1991. All snakes involved were Bothrops asper Based on local tissue and systemic effects, seven cases were severe, three with permanent disability There were no fatalities. Although antivenom was administered intramuscularly as field treatment to seven victims and later intravenously as hospital treatment to nine as patients, its effect on outcome was uncertain. Nevertheless, intramuscular antivenom is recommended following an adult Bothrops asper bite when there are signs of envenomation and travel time to a treatment facility is more than four hours. The Extractor (Aspivenin) suction device may be of some benefit, but incisions, constricting bands, and electroshock should not be used. Having a prior plan of action and implementing it effectively is most likely to improve outcome. Three bites occurred during 1.5 million person-hours in the field with Bothrops asper at four field operations in Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Although risk of Bothrops asper bite to field researchers is low, it should not be ignored.

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