Awareness of the Standard of Care for Snakebite Management Among Physicians in Kerala: A Cross-sectional Study

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  • 1 Posion Control Centre, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kochi, India;
  • 2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Aster Medcity, Kochi, India;
  • 3 Department of Internal Medicine, Taluk Headquarters Hospital, Malappuram, India

Snakebite remains a largely neglected yet important cause of morbidity as well as mortality in Kerala. This study aimed to assess the knowledge about the standard of care for snakebite management among physicians in Kerala. This was a cross-sectional study using a questionnaire-based survey among 110 physicians from Kerala. The overall knowledge levels were assessed using a questionnaire with answers being scored as 0 for wrong answers and as 1 for correct answers. The total knowledge scores for all respondents were calculated, with a maximum possible score of 14 and a minimum possible score of 0. Comparisons were made between subsets of respondents. The questionnaire was administered to 110 physicians who fulfilled the predetermined criteria. The overall mean knowledge score during the study was 10.7 (standard deviation ± 2.9). However, there were certain pitfalls associated with the management of snakebite. In particular, questions about tourniquet use, bringing a dead snake to the physician, and the anti-snake venom test dose had high proportions of incorrect answers. Significantly higher knowledge levels were also observed in certain subgroups. There seems to be varying knowledge gaps associated with various aspects of snakebite management for certain subsets of respondents who are likely to benefit from specific training.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Balram Rathish, MRCP (UK), Department of Infectious Diseases, Aster Medcity, Kochi, India. E-mail: balramrnair@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Roshni Pillay, Poison Control Centre, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kochi, India, E-mail: dr.roshnipillay2690@gmail.com. Balram Rathish, Department of Infectious Diseases, Aster Medcity, Kochi, India, E-mail: balramrnair@gmail.com. V. V. Pillay, Poison Control Centre, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kochi, India, E-mail: drvvpillay@gmail.com. Faiz Mukthar, Department of Internal Medicine, Taluk Headquarters Hospital, Malappuram, India, E-mail: faizmukthar@me.com.

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