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Drakensberg hotel guest airlifted after venomous snake bite

The South African logo The South African 2022/10/03 Storm Simpson

A guest at a hotel in the Drakensberg was airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a venomous snake on Sunday morning, 2 October.

DRAKENSBERG HOTEL GUEST BITTEN BY SNAKE

Non-profit Emergency Rescue Service (EMS), Specialised Tactical Accident Rescue Team (START), was activated at approximately 9:40 after receiving reports of a snake bite at a local hotel.

“On arrival, it was found that the patient was showing clear signs of a snake bite, with a clear bite mark and swelling to the affected area,” said a START spokesperson.

The patient reportedly said they were bitten by a snake around 9:25. Paramedics immediately got to work and administered basic treatment while using flip cards to allow the patient to identify the snake.

The patient identified the reptile that bit them as a Berg Adder, which is known to be venomous and bad-tempered, according to the African Snakebite Institute.

“Its venom differs from most adders in that it is mainly neurotoxic with a specific action on the optic and facial nerves, causing drooping eyelids, double vision, dizziness and temporary loss of taste and smell. Breathing may also be affected in severe bites and bites can be very serious.

“There is no anti-venom for the bite of this snake and victims may have to be artificially ventilated. Some of the symptoms may prevail for several weeks after a bite,” said the Institute.

A Berg Adder measuring between 15 to 30 cm long in Cederberg, Western Cape. Image: Creative Commons/Jon Richfield. © Provided by The South African A Berg Adder measuring between 15 to 30 cm long in Cederberg, Western Cape. Image: Creative Commons/Jon Richfield.

START called on its partner Netcare911, which provided a helicopter, to airlift the patient from the Drakensberg to a Level 1 trauma hospital as soon as possible.

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