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August 3, 1994

Varied Health Risks Confront Physicians in Former Yugoslavia's Embattled Areas

JAMA. 1994;272(5):337-340. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520050017004

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LAND MINES and vipers await the unwary in areas of the former Yugoslavia, and these are only two of the many threats to safety and health that challenge physicians who live there and US military medical personnel temporarily serving in that war-ravaged land.

Land mines are taking a heavy toll today and doubtless will continue to claim victims for years to come. With the ebb and flow of battle, many of the maps and landmarks (indicating where the mines are buried) have been destroyed.

Another danger in unpaved areas comes from Vipera ammodytes, the longnosed viper, which may envenomate when disturbed and whose venom is highly toxic if rarely fatal. Also to be found are V berus, the common adder, which is less likely to attack but whose venom is moderately toxic, and V ursinii, the field adder, which usually avoids human confrontation and has venom considered to be slightly

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