Coral Snake Envenomations in Central and South America
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Purpose of Review
Snakebites are increasingly recognized as a neglected tropical disease. The purposes of this review were to determine the significance of coral snakebites in Central and South America and how best to treat these envenomations. Questions that needed to be answered included:
What is the incidence of coral snake envenomation?
What are the features of coral snake envenomation?
What are the pharmacological and nonpharmacological ways to treat these bites?
Multiple case reports and series describe the clinical features of coral snake envenomations, which account for fewer than 5% of all snakebites in Central and South America. Coral snake venom is a complex mixture of neurotoxins and other biologically active substances. There are multiple coral snake antivenoms available, but no single antivenom can be used for all species.
Coral snake envenomations are characterized by motor and sensory neurotoxicity. However, muscle damage, renal injury, hematologic toxicity, electrocardiographic abnormalities, and nonspecific signs and symptoms are also possible consequences. Supportive care and antivenom are the mainstays of therapy. Pressure immobilization may prevent systemic absorption, and neostigmine may protect against paralysis. Death is uncommon if treatment is initiated promptly. Nonspecific inhibitors of various venom components may serve as a bridge to definitive therapy.
KeywordsCoral snake Micrurus Envenomation Antivenom Neostigmine Snakebite
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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