When snakes strike, lives shatter

phys.org | 3/19/2019 | Staff
gbabii05 (Posted by) Level 3
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On June 15, 2015, four-year-old Chepchirchir Kiplagat's life changed forever. Bitten by a snake as she slept, she permanently lost the use of the left side of her body.

Sleeping beside her on a mattress on the floor of their modest, mud-walled home, Chepchirchir's two-year-old sister Scholar was also bitten.

She did not survive.

"It was hard to tell what had happened because the children were crying from the pain," their father Jackson Chepkui, a 39-year-old livestock farmer, told AFP at home in the tiny village of Embosos in Kenya's remote western Baringo county.

Blood - Spots - Chepchirchir - Wrist - Snake

"We saw two blood spots on her (Chepchirchir's) wrist, that's how we were able to conclude that they were bitten by a snake."

With tiny Scholar no longer breathing, Chepkui scrambled to save his surviving daughter.

Embosos - Clinic - Father - Motorcycle - Taxi

Embosos does not have its own clinic, and the frantic father struggled to find a motorcycle taxi to take them to the nearest town: Marigat about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) away.

They finally arrived at about 1:00 am—some five hours after the child was bitten—only to find the clinic had no antivenom.

Town - Kabarnet - Km - Stocks - Lifesaving

They set off again for the town of Kabarnet, another 40 km away, again to find no stocks of the lifesaving serum.

Finally, Chepchirchir was brought to a hospital in the city of Eldoret, a further 90 km away, by 5:00 am.

Girl - Hospital - Months - Damage - School

The little girl was in hospital for two months and suffered permanent damage. Of school age now, she requires a wheelchair her family cannot afford.

Every year, snakes bite about 5.4 million people worldwide, of whom up to 2.7 million experience "envenoming"—when the animal transfers its poison through its fangs.

Number - Underestimation - Recordkeeping - Officials

This number is likely a vast underestimation, given underreporting and patchy recordkeeping, officials say.

An estimated 81,000-138,000 people die of snakebites annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while about 400,000 survivors suffer permanent disabilities and other nasty...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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