Fungal flora in the mouth of venomous and non-venomous snakes
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Mortality as a direct result of venomous snake bites is estimated to be in the thousands worldwide per year. However, while venom may be the primary mortality vector, snake oral cavities can also contain significant pathogens capable of causing infection in bite victims. This study was conducted to identify potentially pathogenic fungal flora in the oral cavities of venomous and non-venomous snakes. Sterile swabs were used to retrieve samples from the oral cavities of different snakes followed by medium-specific culture. Slide culture technology was also used in the identification of fungal flora. Rhizopus and Mucor represented the most common fungal flora each making up 29 % of the total. Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus and Candida represented a significantly smaller portion of fungal pathogen load at around 3 % each. Fungi, Yeast (19.4 %) and Penicillium (9.7 %), were also identified in the retrieved samples. Our results indicate that both venomous and non-venomous snakes carry a significant fungal pathogenic load in their oral cavities. Therefore, fungal infection should be considered, in addition to toxicity, especially in snake bite victims with immune deficiency.
KeywordsFungal contamination Mouth Venomous snakes Non-venomous snakes
We gratefully acknowledge the staffs of the laboratory research center of health environment at the Environment College of Kashan University of Medical Sciences especially Mr. Varasteh, Mr. Abdolahi, Mr. Hoseinkhah, Mr. Davari, and Mrs. Iranshahi and Mrs. Sedaqat. We also appreciate Mr. Asadi in Niasar health center for aiding us to collect and prepare the samples for the tests.
Conflict of interest
The authors declared that they have no competing interests.
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