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Snakebite envenoming


What is Snakebite envenoming?

Snakebite envenoming is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by the bite of a venomous snake. Envenoming can also be caused by having venom sprayed into the eyes by certain species of snakes that have the ability to spit venom as a defence measure.

Bites by venomous snakes can cause severe paralysis that may prevent breathing, cause bleeding disorders that can lead to fatal haemorrhage and cause irreversible kidney failure and severe local tissue destruction that can cause permanent disability and limb amputation.

Children may suffer more severe effects and can experience the effects more quickly than adults. Most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites can be prevented by making safe and effective antivenoms more widely available and accessible, and raising awareness on primary prevention among communities and health workers.

WHO road map target:

Control by 2030

Catherine Kapaira from Sangoramambo Village in Zimbabwe shares the story of her daughter, who was bitten by a snake.

Rosemary Makarutse, from Madziva Nyamaropa in Zimbabwe, shares her story of getting bitten by a snake and her road to receiving treatment.

Key stats

  • 5.4 million

    snakebites occur each year*


  • 1.8-2.7 million

    cases of envenoming annually*


  • 80k-140k

    deaths are reported annually

Further information