Venomous Snakes. Some Central American Records. Incidence of Snake-Bite Accidents

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  • Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panamá, R. de P.
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No general scientific effort had ever been made to determine the exact character of the snake population in Central America, with the exception of Costa Rica, until July, 1924. Therefore very little definite scientific knowledge of the species of snakes responsible for snake-bite accidents had been recorded. Brazil was apparently the only country in the tropics of the western hemisphere that had made significant progress in the study of its venomous snakes. A great stimulus was given the subject in 1924 by Dr. W. E. Deeks, General Manager of the United Fruit Company's Medical Department, and since then considerable progress has been made in a Central American snake census and in promoting the manufacture of antivenin.

During my service in his organization while at Tela, Honduras, C. A., a plan was launched for a snake census of the coastal plain in use by the fruit growers.Snake accidents had never been a subject of great importance in these plantations yet occasional tragic accidents did occur and we were not prepared to offer modern treatment nor did we have scientific information regarding the species of snakes responsible for the accident.