Belt / OdsbergenNature relief center Opglabbeek captured an “extremely dangerous” Palestinian viper at logistics company Dilissen Logistics on Wednesday afternoon. “This is now moving into a specialist research center,” says Cel Janssen of Natuurhulpcentrum. There they will conduct a search for snake venom, among other things.
Dilissen Logistics, located in Nolim Park, contacted the same Natuurhulpcentrum. The snake in question was crawling in a load coming from Israel. “We received an ambiguous photo and based on the drip pattern, we suspected it was a Palestinian viper (Daboia palaestinae), a very dangerous and poisonous snake. There is currently no antidote available for its bite in our country,” it sounds in the Nature Center.
The production of such an antidote often costs thousands of euros. In the Netherlands there is an antivenom available against the Palestinian snakebite. In case of emergency, it can be transported to our country by helicopter. This antagonist is made by administering a specific snake venom to another animal, for example a horse or sheep. The animal makes its own antibodies and thus makes the antibody. The antibodies are then removed from the animal and prepared for humans.
“Our snake specialist Martijn succeeded in catching the snake in a safe way and bringing the animal in a closed box.” This is a good thing, because the snake is very venomous. Bites are often limited to the hands and feet. From there, the venom still has a long way to travel to the vital organs, so the animal doesn’t often kill the victims. If you are bitten in the carotid artery, it can be fatal. In principle, the animal does not happen with us, unless, of course, it sneaks with an international consignment.
“Because this species is so dangerous, we contacted the Alphabiotoxin Centre, a research center where animals are kept in a safe and professional manner,” adds Natuurhulpcentrum. “Obviously, the venom is collected, on the one hand to produce antivenom, and on the other hand to check whether the venom contains proteins that can have medicinal properties.”
Up to 42 different species of snakes live in Israel, nine of which are venomous. The Palestinian snake is found mainly in the north of the country. “People are only likely to be bitten if they deliberately run into a snake or accidentally bump into it. This does not happen often,” Israeli zoologist Shmulek Ydvab said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“Anyone who has been bitten should be taken to the hospital immediately,” he continues. About 300 people are bitten by snakes in Israel every year. Statistics show that approximately one person dies annually from a snake bite in the country. Most victims reach the hospital in time.
The poison of the Palestinian viper is similar to the venom of the chain viper, which is considered the most dangerous snake in Southeast Asia due to its effective venom and its frequent presence in the settlement area.
snake in our country
In our country, a poisonous viper lives in nature. The common adder only occurs in the catchment area of Upper Meuse and Antwerp Kempen. A snake bite does not necessarily mean injecting venom. This is called a “dry bite”. In this case, the snake will bite, but the animal will not inject any poison. A “dry bite” can be seen, but it does not give a local reaction. Infection is possible.
Symptoms usually appear half an hour to several hours after the bite. The most common are: pain (severe) at the wound site, swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and increased heart rate. The severity of symptoms depends on the amount of poison injected.
In severe cases, edema extends beyond the affected limb and internal bleeding may occur. There are a lot of antivenom in stock for those bitten by this snake in our country. No deaths from snakebites have been reported in Belgium in recent years.
The Poison Control Center does not recommend pulling the bite. It is also not recommended to tie the body part with a bandage. This could lead to further complications. Anyone who has been bitten should contact emergency services for further follow-up and treatment.
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