What is it about?

Medically important venomous snakes are mostly those with front fangs to inject toxins. Envenoming occurs when these snakes bite and successfully inject their venom. The risk of being bitten and envenomed changes between places because snakes are more abundant or of a different kind in certain areas. We used ecological knowledge and mathematics to explain the risk to people from Sri Lanka.

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Why is it important?

Snakebite is a high incidence, high impact, neglected tropical disease. Most victims are in difficult economic circumstances, and the resulting illness sometimes impacts entire families. Improving our understanding of how snakebite works we can optimize venom allocation or target some areas for specific interventions depending on the snakes present or the nature of people-related risk factors.


Having this work published was very exciting because I could apply many ideas I had in mind about zoonotic diseases. In particular I was very interested in quantifying how humans ourselves influence the risk of diseases, either displacing snakes or improving conditions for their presence. I am pleased with how well the model addresses this issue and many more that have been widely neglected and which are important considerations towards anticipating and mitigating risk.

Gerardo Martín
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A mechanistic model of snakebite as a zoonosis: Envenoming incidence is driven by snake ecology, socioeconomics and its impacts on snakes, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, May 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009867.
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