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Lack of anti-scorpion antivenom serum, baby girl died

Phu YenA 4-year-old girl was bitten by a scorpion snake, liver and kidney failure, difficulty breathing, hospitals including Children’s 1 and 2 in Ho Chi Minh City did not have anti-toxin serum, so they could not save her.

“The hospital does not have anti-scorpion antivenom, we contacted Children’s Hospital 1, Children 2 also do not have anti-venom serum for this snake, so we cannot take the baby to the hospital,” said Dr. Pham. Van Minh, Director of the Hospital for Obstetrics and Children in Phu Yen province, on May 23 shared and added that the baby died 5 days after being bitten by a scorpion snake.

Before that, the baby was sleeping in the house when he was bitten by a poisonous snake. When he was admitted to the hospital on May 16, he had trouble breathing and had to be on a ventilator. In 5 days of intensive treatment, the baby’s condition worsened, liver and kidney failure, did not respond to antipyretic drugs, then the family asked to take the baby home and died.

The scorpion belongs to the family of cobras, the skin is black and blue, with distinct black and white compartments in succession. This snake is common in Vietnam, lives in the wild, is a poisonous snake. The venom of scorpion snakes can cause neurotoxicity with drooping eyelids, slurred speech, inability to swallow saliva, difficulty breathing, apnea, and death if not treated promptly.

Doctor Minh recommends that at the time of change of season, all kinds of snakes (including poisonous ones) often crawl into the house. Households, especially in rural and mountainous areas, need to carefully check their houses and close holes to prevent snakes and centipedes.

Antivenom serum is an antidote to snake venomthat is, a preparation containing globulins capable of specifically neutralizing snake venom, obtained from the serum of healthy cattle (horses, sheep, mules, donkeys) that have been immune to snake venom.

According to Dr. Le Quoc Hung, Head of Tropical Diseases Department, Cho Ray Hospital, there are two types of snake venom serum: monovalent serum (resistance to one type of snake venom) and polyvalent serum (general treatment for snakeheads). krait, scorpion, king tiger, earth tiger). The scorpion venom serum was previously imported from Thailand. However, since the Covid-19 outbreak last year until now, this supply has not been available again, so the market is short of serum.

Doctor Vu Hiep Phat, Head of Emergency Department, Children’s Hospital 2, said that currently some poisonous snakes such as bamboo vipers, cobras, indigo… have anti-venom serum. Victims bitten by these venomous snakes who are hospitalized are given an antidote serum immediately, the treatment effect is very high, only about 2-3 days to stabilize their health.

Reply VnExpressDoctor Dinh Tan Phuong, Head of Emergency Department, Children’s Hospital 1, said that patients bitten by this venomous snake, when there is no serum, they must combine many symptomatic treatment measures such as ventilator support, transfusion of coagulation products, plasma exchange…, the average treatment time is 7-14 days, the cost is higher, there may be many complications.

Most patients have neurotoxicity, paralysis, mechanical ventilation and wait for about 1-2 weeks, depending on the amount of venom in the body. Patients with systemic toxicity may require dialysis. Most early admissions to the hospital are life-saving.

According to doctors, currently, the research and production industry of snake antivenom has not been invested in by Vietnam. The reason is that this industry requires human resources as well as large financial capacity. A serum before becoming a commercial product must go through many stages of research, testing, and huge costs. Meanwhile, if the demand is too small, any drug will only have a certain shelf life, if not used, it must be thrown away, so investors are afraid to spend a lot of money on research and production of anticoagulants. bar.

Bui Toan – Le Phuong

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