PUTRAJAYA: Hospitals nationwide have recorded a total of 730 snake-bite cases since January, with northern states having the highest number.
Kedah recorded the most, 195 cases, followed by Perak with 107.
The death of a seven-year-old girl in Kelantan after she was bitten was the only fatal case so far.
“Snakes come out of their normal habitat because of the changing weather patterns. This is something we have to be careful about,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic) yesterday.
From 2010 to 2015, Malaysia saw some 2,600 to 3,700 snake-bite cases a year, registering between one and six deaths annually.
Advising victims to seek immediate help at hospitals or clinics, Dr Subramaniam urged the public not to try to treat snake bites themselves.
“Seek medical help as early as possible. Treatment should only be done by medical professionals. Do not try to suck the venom out because this can put the victim in danger,” he said.
He said there were 139 hospitals equipped with anti-venom, adding that “this is sufficient”.
There are two kinds of anti-venom, one is to treat a specific type of toxin and the other for different types of poison.
“Staff at the Emergency Department have the expertise to identify the type of treatment according to the case.
“Even if the victims are brought to a clinic or hospital without such facilities, we can transfer them quickly and without problem,” said Dr Subramaniam.
School and local clinics would not be equipped with anti-venom as the treatment was delicate and needed to be carried out only at hospitals with the relevant facilities, he said.
“Risk of the wrong application of anti-venom is bigger than the (danger of the) snake bite due to the reactions it could cause in the human body,” he explained.
Earlier, Dr Subramaniam witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia and the College of Anaesthetists of Ireland for more Malaysian doctors to be trained in anaesthesiology.