A Survey of 200 Cases of Snake-Bite in Virginia

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  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Snake venom poisoning has long interested physicians. Case studies were so frequent in the medical journals of the nineteenth century that Willson (1908) was able to compile 440 published reports of snake-bite accident in the United States. The educational and preventive aspects of the problem of ophidian venenation were not neglected in this period, and the outstanding contributions of Ellzey (1885) and Barringer (1892) focused attention on the circumstances occasioning bites. The magnitude of the snake-bite problem in the United States was first quantitatively investigated by Hutchinson (1929, 1930). He reported that in 1928 four per cent of the 607 cases that occurred in that year in the United States had taken place in Virginia. Githens (1935) extended this work on the national incidence of snake-bite, and on the basis of reports returned by physicians to the Antivenin Institute of America, plus newspaper records, he estimated an annual morbidity rate of from one to two thousand cases.