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October 18, 1976

Treatment of Snakebite

Author Affiliations

State of Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Jacksonville, Fla

JAMA. 1976;236(16):1844. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270170009005

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To the Editor.—  The publication of the article on treatment of pit viper bites has been brought to my attention.I regret the publication of this article without conflicting opinions of others.Here in Florida, a recent survey indicates close to 600 venomous snake bites each year are treated in emergency departments. In the last three years we have averaged one death per year.It is highly probable, therefore, that the mortality is not affected anyway by the method of treatment. The only question, therefore, is the extent of morbidity and disability resulting from the bite and subsequent treatment.The best information available to this office indicates that about half of the venomous bites in the state are treated solely or primarily with antivenin. Depending on the location and reaction, massive doses of antivenin may be given, sometimes 10 to 12 vials.The results that have been reported have been