Australian Snakebite and Treatment

Reference work entry
Part of the Toxinology book series (TOXI)

Abstract

Life-supporting treatment may be required after envenomation by species of Australian snakes from terrestrial genera: Pseudonaja (Brown snakes), Notechis (Tiger snakes), Oxyuranus (Taipans), Acanthophis (Death Adders), Pseudechis (Black snakes), Austrelaps (Copperhead snakes), Hoplocephalus and by the species Tropidechis carinatus (Rough-scaled snake), Paroplocephalus atriceps (Lake Cronin snake), and most of the genera of sea snakes including Hydrophis, Aipysurus, Laticauda, and Microcephalophis. Envenomation causes paralysis, procoagulant coagulopathy or anticoagulant coagulopathy (both causing hemorrhage), and rhabdomyolysis with renal failure. Procoagulant coagulopathy may also cause acute cardiovascular collapse and microangiopathic hemolytic anemia. Lesser known species cause nonlife-threatening illness. Early administration of antivenom can neutralize toxins and halt but not reverse procoagulopathy and establish tissue damage such as destroyed nerve terminals and rhabdomyolysis, which mandate time and supportive medical therapy. The recommended antivenom dose for an envenomated snakebite victim is two vials but less or more may be required, preceded by low-dose subcutaneous adrenaline to prevent allergic reactions. The few toxins identified and purified include: presynaptic phospholipase A2 neurotoxins taipoxin (Taipan), notexin (Tiger snake), textilotoxin (Brown snake); serine proteinase prothrombin activators in Taipan, Tiger snake, Brown snake, Rough-scaled snake, and Stephen’s Banded snake venoms; blockers of cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels (pseudechetoxin, pseudecin) in Black snake venom and a plasmin inhibitor in Brown snake venom.

Keywords

Envenomation Envenoming Toxin Snake Snakebite Antivenom 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Intensive Care UnitThe Royal Children’s Hospital, The University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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