Study estimates more than one million Indians died from snakebite envenoming over past two decades

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published Published on Jul 10, 2020   modified Modified on Jul 13, 2020

-World Health Organisation Newsroom

India is among the countries most dramatically affected by snakebite and accounts for almost half the total number of annual deaths in the world. Authors of the article entitled ‘Trends in snakebite mortality in India from 2000 to 2019 in a nationally representative mortality study’ analysed 2,833 snakebite deaths from 611,483 verbal autopsies from an earlier study and conducted a systematic literature review from 2000-2019 covering 87,590 snake bites.

The authors estimated that India had 1.2 million snakebite deaths (representing an average of 58,000 per year) from 2000 to 2019 with nearly half of the victims aged 30-69 and over a quarter being children under 15.

People living in densely populated low altitude agricultural areas in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (which includes Telangana, a recently defined state), Rajasthan and Gujarat, suffered 70% of deaths during the period 2001-2014, particularly during the rainy season when encounters between snakes and humans are more frequent at home and outdoors.

Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), kraits (Bungarus species) and cobras (Naja species) are among the most important biting snake species in India, yet other often unidentified species also represent a threat.

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World Health Organisation Newsroom, 10 July, 2020,

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