Almost 1,500 people bitten by snakes every year: DOH

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By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An average of 1,480 people are bitten by snakes every year in Taiwan, with less than 1 percent of cases fatal, the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.

The DOH said that the Chinese cobra (飯匙倩), pointed-scaled pit viper (龜殼花), and Chinese green tree viper (赤尾青竹絲) are the three most common vipers that bite people in Taiwan, while it branded the krait (雨傘節) the viper with the strongest poison.

Dr. Liu Yu-lun (劉宇倫), from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 疾病管制局), said that in recent years only one person has died as a result of not being immediately hospitalized after being bitten by a viper.

“People should not cut, squeeze, or suck the wound after being bitten by any kind of snake because it could either infect the wound or push the poison deeper into the body tissue,” said Liu.

According to Liu, people should use hydrogen peroxide solution to clean the wound if bitten by a snake and visit the hospital for medical treatment as soon as possible.

Mao Chun-chieh (毛俊傑), assistant professor of National Ilan University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, said that wearing light-color outfits and shoes, and beating the grass when walking in the woods or mountains are both effective ways to avoid being bitten.