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Toxicon. 2012 Sep 15;60(4):706-11. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2012.03.021. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Approach to the epidemiology of venomous bites in Spain.

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  • 1Agencia de Evaluación de Tecnologías Sanitarias, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Avenida Monforte de Lemos 5, 28029 Madrid, Spain. zuleika@isciii.es


This review presents a geographic distribution of the three autochthonous venomous snake species, which are the only viperids present in Spain, among the Iberian fauna: Vipera aspid; Vipera seoianei and Vipera latasti. This is followed by a detailed descriptive analysis of hospital care provided to patients admitted into hospital due to venomous bites, in the period from 1997 to 2009, using the data from the Spanish hospital discharge registry database. This analysis reveals that in Spain, during this period, 1649 cases were recorded, which means that hospital care was required for more than one hundred cases per year, of which nearly 1% of the cases resulted in death. Cases were recorded in all the Autonomous communities, but more than half (54, 14%) were concentrated in the following four regions: Cataluña, Castilla and León, Galicia and Andalucía. It is notable that this concentration of cases is not associated only with the population demographics of the community, but is also the result of the concurrence of very diverse factors of exposure including: habitat of venomous fauna, volume of rural population, farming activities, and practice of outdoor leisure activities. We also carried out a gross economic calculation for the use of hospital resources by each snakebite case requiring hospital care in Spain, which provided us with an approximate figure of 2000€ per case.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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