MELVILLE, N.Y., Aug. 23 Labor Day may mark the unofficialend of summer, but snakebite season is still going strong. In fact,approximately 20 percent of reported venomous bites take place during themonths of September and October. Although the majority of snakebite incidentsoccur in the southern half of the U.S., every state had at least one reportedbite last year.
Thanks in part to the availability of antivenom, widespread educationalefforts and heightened media attention, only about a dozen North Americancrotalid bites result in death each year. An estimated 8,000 people arebitten annually, and the number of bites in any given season depends on avariety of factors including geography, rainfall and temperature.
"Some areas of the country have experienced higher than average rain fallthis year, while others are experiencing drought. Both situations canpersuade snakes to move into populated areas in search of food or water," saidErica L. Liebelt M.D. FACMT, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and EmergencyMedicine Director, Medical Toxicology Services UAB School of Medicine.
"Unfortunately, we see numerous cases of a snake biting someone twice orbiting two people because of a botched effort to catch or kill it after thefirst bite. People often want to capture the snake for identificationpurposes, but we don't need to see the snake to treat the patient. And, wedon't want people bringing a snake into an ambulance or a hospital, even adead one, especially since snakes still have a bite reflex for a short timeafter death," stated Dr. Liebelt. "The important thing is to get the victimto a hospital as quickly and calmly as possible. Infants, children and adultsshould all be treated with antivenom if they have a mild to moderateenvenomation."
CroFab(R) Crotalidae Polyvalent Immune Fab (Ovine) is the only widelyavailable antivenom for the management of patients with minimal or moderateNorth American crotalid snakebite envenomations in the United States (thisincludes pit vipers such as rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths/watermoccasins). "We are working in partnership with the poison control centers toencourage every hospital to stock adequate supplies of antivenom, even if theyexpect to see just one snakebite patient a year," said Jackie Beltrani,Director of Institutional Sales and Specialty Marketing for Fougera, themarketer of CroFab. "Our goal is to ensure that no patient has to losevaluable treatment time being transferred to another hospital because theinitial hospital didn't stock antivenom."
CroFab(R) is indicated for the management of patients with minimal ormoderate North American crotalid envenomation. Early use of CroFab(R) (within6 hours of snakebite) is advised to prevent clinical deterioration and theoccurrence of systemic coagulation abnormalities. The term crotalid is usedto describe the Crotalinae subfamily (formerly know as Crotalidae) of venomoussnakes that includes rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths/watermoccasins. With the exception of coral snakes, CroFab(R) can treat mild tomoderate envenomations from any venomous snake indigenous to the UnitedStates.
CroFab(R) works to stop venom from destroying tissue. It does not reversethe damage already done by the snake venom. The more time that elapsesbetween the time of bite and the time of treatment the greater the chance ofcomplications. The phrase "Time is Tissue" is often used to articulate theneed to treat bites quickly to prevent tissue damage.
In October 2002, Fougera assumed responsibility for the distribution ofCroFab(R) from Savage Laboratories. Both companies are divisions of AltanaInc. CroFab(R) was developed and is manufactured by Protherics PLC.
Important Safety Information
The most common adverse events reported in clinical studies were mild ormoderate reactions involvi