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A study published in Nature Communications recently estimated that a vast majority of snakebite deaths globally — up to 64,100 of the 78,600 deaths — occur in India.

About Snakebites:

  • The study used data from verbal autopsy and vital statistics (civil registration) to estimate snakebite deaths from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study.
  • The global estimate of deaths due to snakebite comes 14 years after the previous one in 2008 and provides a more robust estimate. 
  • Snakebite (a neglected tropical disease) is a public health problem in India and many other low- and middle-income countries has been long known.
  • Within India, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of deaths, estimated to be up to 16,100, followed by Madhya Pradesh (up to 5,790 deaths), and Rajasthan (up to 5,230 deaths).
  • The study estimated that the age-standardised death rate (which accounts for different age-structures in different countries, thus allowing comparison between countries) in India, at 4.0 per 1,00,000, is also among the highest globally, and many times over than the global figure of 0.8 deaths per 1,00,000. 
  • Only Somalia has a higher age-standardised death rate than India at 4.5 per 1,00,000.
  • Within India, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan have even higher age-standardised death rates, at 6.5, 6.0, and 5.8 per 1,00,000, respectively.


  • Anti-snake venom (ASV) are effective treatments to prevent or reverse most of its harmful effects.
  • Steps by WHO:
    • In June 2017, WHO added snakebite envenoming to its priority list of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
    • Anti-snake venom (ASV) is included in the WHO Essential Medicines List.

Source : The Hindu