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March 16, 1970

Puff Adder Snakebite

Author Affiliations

Boulder, Colo

JAMA. 1970;211(11):1857. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170110063024

To the Editor.—  Approximately 6,680 people are bitten annually by poisonous snakes in the United States.1 Among these bites, it is estimated that about eight are by poisonous snakes from foreign countries.2 During the ten-year period, 1950 through 1959, there were 138 fatal snakebites in the United States; three of them by imported snakes.3 Because of the extensive use of antivenin in the United States, death due to native snake envenomation is remarkably small and only about 15 per cent are fatal cases. However, foreign snake envenomation causes a problem in the United States, due to a lack of specific antivenin, and difficulty in locating it. In this communication a bite by an African puff adder (Bitis arietans) is reported.