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Saw-Scaled Viper Bites in Sri Lanka: Is It a Different Subspecies? Clinical Evidence from an Authenticated Case Series

Ariaranee GnanathasanFaculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka; Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka; District Hospital, Mannar, Sri Lanka

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Chaturaka RodrigoFaculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka; Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka; District Hospital, Mannar, Sri Lanka

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Thambipillai PeranantharajahFaculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka; Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka; District Hospital, Mannar, Sri Lanka

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Anthonia CoongheFaculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Kynsey road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka; Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka; District Hospital, Mannar, Sri Lanka

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The saw-scaled viper (SSV) (Echis carinatus) is considered to be a highly venomous snake in Sri Lanka despite any published clinical justification. Being a rarity, the clinical profile of SSV bites is not well established in Sri Lanka. We report a series of 48 (n-48) SSV bites from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The majority (65%) of victims had evidence of local envenoming at the site of the bite; however, 29% showed spontaneous bleeding and 71% had coagulopathy. There were no deaths in the series. The envenoming was mild in contrast to the mortality and significant morbidity associated with SSV bites in West Africa and some parts of India. These observations need to be further explored with laboratory studies to identify the venom components, study of morphological characteristics, and genetic profiling of the Sri Lankan SSV to see if it is different from the subspecies found elsewhere.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Ariaranee Gnanathasan, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, 25, Kynsey Road, Colombo 08, Western Province, Sri Lanka, CO800. E-mails: ariaranee2011@gmail.com or ariaranee2000@yahoo.com.

Authors’ addresses: Ariaranee Gnanathasan and Chaturaka Rodrigo, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka, E-mail: chaturaka.rodrigo@gmail.com. Thambipillai Peranantharajah, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, Sri Lanka, E-mail: peranantha@gmail.com. Anthonia Coonghe, District Hospital, Mannar, Sri Lanka, E-mail: padcoonghe@yahoo.com.

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