The Russel viper has a truly unique bite effect



by   |  VIEW 159

The Russel viper has a truly unique bite effect

Russell's viper is widespread in much of Southeast Asia. It has been found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, China (Guangxi, Guangdong), Taiwan and Indonesia (Endeh, Flores, east Java, Komodo, Lomblen islands).

It is not limited to a particular habitat, but avoids dense woods, so it is found mostly in open areas. However, it can also be found in small woods and plantations. It is more common in the coastal lowlands and in the hills.

It generally does not live at high altitudes, but has also been reported at 2300–3000m. Avoid humid environments, such as swamps and rainforests. The poison contains haemotoxic and cytotoxic toxins, and immediately produces severe pain in the bite area.

After about 20 minutes you can have bleeding in the mouth, gums, as well as a sudden decrease in heart rate and drop in blood pressure. In severe cases, systemic bleeding, thrombosis, renal, heart or respiratory block may later occur.

Death can occur after 1-14 days and even beyond. In case of survival of the bite, the venom can have serious permanent consequences such as hypopituitarism and consequent sterility. Hypopituitarism occurs in 29% of bitten people.

But there are not only these side effects. The study: Visual Hallucinations After a Russell's Viper Bite, published on the Wilderness & environmental medicine, explains: "Visual hallucinations (VHs) are extremely rare in snakebites.

We report a case of Russell's viper bite in an otherwise healthy 55-y-old woman who presented to a hospital in south India with established clinical features of systemic and local envenomation, including coagulation failure, without any neurologic manifestations on admission.

She reported simple VH on the third day, which abruptly stopped on the fifth day without any specific medications . Clinical, laboratory, imaging, and electrophysiological studies did not reveal any neuropsychiatric disorders.

Including this case, only 5 cases of VH are documented in the literature, 2 following cobra and viper bites and 1 after a sea snake bite. Two cases were reported from Australia and 1 each from the United States, Iran, and India. "