Bangladesh reels from surge in snake bites

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Bangladesh reels from surge in snake bites
The Russell's viper has returned to Bangladesh

BBC | All health centres and hospitals in Bangladesh have been ordered to stock anti-venom after reports of a surge in snake bites across the country.

Health minister Samanta Lal Sen also urged the public to bring snake bite victims to hospitals as soon as possible.

Hospitals in rural Bangladesh have reported an increase in people being bitten by snakes, especially by the Russell's viper, which is found in South Asia.

The incidents have been a major topic on Bangladeshi social media in recent weeks.

As it feeds on rodents, the Russell's viper is often found near human settlements, and in farmland particularly during harvest season.

A 2023 study said about 7,000 people die in Bangladesh every year from snake bites. Most victims survive if treated with anti-venom quickly.

The Russell's viper was declared extinct in Bangladesh in 2002 but the species has now returned.

Scientists believe the snake, which usually lives found in dry areas, has adapted to different climate conditions, and has now spread to more than 25 districts in Bangladesh.

The World Health Organisation says snakes bites are one of the most neglected tropical diseases and has made tackling them a priority.

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