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April 6, 1963

Coral Snake Bite

JAMA. 1963;184(1):79-80. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700140135028

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To the Editor:  —In the Dec 1 issue of The Journal (182:949), in the article "Coral Snake Bite," the authors make some incidental comments which may be misinterpreted. They say: "Three hours after the bite,... skin testing revealed the patient to be highly sensitive to horse serum, despite the fact that he had received almost 300 mg of cortisone."They say further that: "... 4½ hours after symptoms began, desensitization was completed, and the patient received 120 cc of antivenom...." "The patient was readmitted for 3 days, 10 days after the bite, complaining of joint pains... and it was felt that this represented a flare-up of the arthritis secondary to cortisone withdrawal."The last statement may be true, but there is also a good possibility that the joint pains, which are a common symptom of a "serum sickness" reaction, usually occurring about 10 days after the administration of horse serum

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