Hospitals almost empty of antidote after record year for viper bites

viper bitesViper bites.Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Hospitals all over Scandinavia are almost empty of antidote after an unusually hot summer that has resulted in record-high viper bites.


“We find that there are very many who have been bitten by vipers this year, compared to previous years. It is probably because of the heat,and we are also more out of antidote in the good weather,’’ said Professor Dag Jacobsen, Head of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Oslo University Hospital to NRK news.

Since May of this year,Poison Information has received 264 inquiries from people who have been bitten. Worst was in June when they received 100 inquiries, compared with 52 last year.

Lack due to high consumption

The drug called ViperaTab is given to about half of the patients admitted to hospital, but this year there has been a shortfall due to its high consumption.

The hospitals are therefore considering having to take a “reserve antibody” forward from horses, which can be used for victims.

“What we have left of the original antidote is saved for vulnerable groups such as children and those with horse allergies,” explained Jacobsen.

Not aggressive

Many people are very afraid of the viper, but they do not attack people unless provoked and will always try to stay away from people.

As a rule, the snake tries to scare with so-called “dry bites”, i.e. without venom. Preferably, the venom is saved for prey.

Deaths in humans due to viper bites occur very rarely. Dogs and other pets on the other hand, are more prone, and if your dog is bitten, it should be taken to your vet immediately.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today