Impact of snakebite on livestock and livelihood: a neglected issue? Artículo académico uri icon


  • Purpose: Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease that kills more than 100’000 humans and disables more than 400’000 each year. It primarily affects poor agricultural workers, farmers, cattle herders living in rural areas of developing countries. It is described as an occupational disease. But, the impact of snakebite on these rural communities could be even higher if we use a One Health approach and take into account the possible direct impact on domestic animals and indirect impact on livelihood (e.g. animal losses, impaired productivity). To explore this hypothesis we developed the first scoping review to identify and characterize the global literature on snakebite in domestic animals.
    Methods & Materials: Three bibliographic databases (PubMed, Web of science and Agricola) were searched using terms related to snake, snakebite and domestic animals for publications up to December 31st 2016.
    Results: The global literature on snakebite in domestic animals (n = 143 observational studies, reviews and letters) was strongly biased with most focus on North America, Europe and Australia (69%, n = 143) and less on Central and South America, Asia and Africa (31%). The attention is on pets (e.g. dog and cat) (77%, n = 119) and less on livestock (e.g. horse, cattle, sheep, goat, pig) (24%). Thirty-seven snake species biting domestic animals were identified. WHO's Medically Important Venomous Snakes were most frequently involved. The social-ecological determinants of snakebite are poorly documented and include a strong seasonality and a diversity of habitat. Snakebite in animals caused neurotoxic, cytotoxic and hemotoxic envenomation syndromes similar to humans and death. Half of publications on envenomed livestock reported a fatality rate above 47%. There was no literature on the indirect impact of snakebite in animals on livelihood.
    Conclusion: This review identified major knowledge gaps with respect to impact of snakebite on livestock and livelihood and suggests a high burden in terms of mortality and potential economic impact. Filling these gaps is necessary for a full understanding of snakebite and to raise awareness on this “neglected of the neglected” issue. This data gap will be addressed by an unprecedented nationwide human-animal health survey of 25’000 households in Nepal and Cameroon funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

fecha de publicación

  • 2019