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Front fanged Viper-type Snakes

Family: Viperidae

The following includes only those species which are likely to be able to cause medically significant envenoming.

Subfamily: Viperinae (vipers)

Daboia siamensis

Russell’s viper

Undoubtedly the most important and concerning cause of snakebite in Myanmar, this snake inhabits agricultural habitats such as rice fields and bites are an occupational disease for farmers. The venom is potent and envenoming is characterised by a complex set of local and systemic effects including moderate to severe local tissue damage, with blistering, local bleeding, necrosis, swelling, fluid shifts, shock, plus systemic coagulopathy, capillary leakage syndrome, renal failure, anterior pituitary infarction with secondary panhypopituitarism, pulmonary oedema. Unlike the closely related species in India/Sri Lanka, it does not appear to cause rhabdomyolysis or paralysis.

Specific antivenom, raised against the Burmese population of these snakes, is the cornerstone of treatment. Intraspecific venom variability is the reason that antivenom raised against venom from this snake in locations outside Myanmar is less likely to be effective. In addition to antivenom, treatment of shock and related problems and of renal failure is life saving in severe cases.