In Brief

Planned Hospital Would Exclusively Treat Snakebite Victims

Ocellated Carpet Viper
Snakebites are a significant burden in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ocellated carpet viper, shown above, is a common snake in the African savannah. A bite from this snake can cause hemorrhaging and death. (Image credit: IRD / JF Trape)

What is this, a hospital for snakebites? Actually, yes. In Nigeria, officials are preparing to build a 122-bed hospital exclusively for snakebite victims, health officials in Nigeria were quoted as saying.

The plan came about due to the sheer number of snakebite victims in northern Nigeria; in some towns in the region, hundreds die each year from deadly bites, Voice of America reports. During the rainy season, which lasts eight months of the year, a wide variety of snakes come out and inevitably have run-ins with humans, many of them subsistence farmers with little or no access to health care.

One of the only facilities currently in the area is a 20-bed hospital started by missionaries that gives out free antivenom, vials of which cost about $125. And some people need many vials to survive. The new initiative, called the Snake Heaven Project, would enlarge the hospital for snakebite victims.

About 100,000 people die each year from snakebites, mostly in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. 

Douglas Main
Douglas Main loves the weird and wonderful world of science, digging into amazing Planet Earth discoveries and wacky animal findings (from marsupials mating themselves to death to zombie worms to tear-drinking butterflies) for Live Science. Follow Doug on Google+.