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Volume 44, Number 6, December 2011

 Bacterial infection in association with snakebite: A 10-year experience in a northern Taiwan medical center

Chun-Ming Chen, Keh-Gong Wu, Chun-Jen Chen, Chuang-Ming Wang

Received: June 10, 2010    Revised: July 25, 2010    Accepted: August 31, 2010   


Corresponding author:
  • Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Department of Pediatrics, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. Department of Pediatrics, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shih-Pai Road, Taipei 112, Taiwan.
  • Chun-Ming Chen and Keh-Gong Wu contributed equally to this work.



Background and purpose: 

 Microbiological data of secondary wound infections following snakebites is rarely reported in Taiwan. The objective of this study was to assess the secondary wound infection after venomous snakebites.



 We conducted a 10-year retrospective survey on patients admitted for venomous snakebites and microbiological data of wound cultures at a medical center in northern Taiwan.



 Between April 2001 and April 2010, 231 patients who experienced snakebites were included. Male predominated, accounting for 62.3% (144). The age range of patients was 4–95 years. Ninety-five (41.1%) people were bitten byTrimeresurus mucrosquamatus, followed by Tstejnegeri, and cobra. A total of 61 pathogens were obtained from 21 patients. Thirty-nine (63.9%) isolates were gram-negative bacteria, 14 (23%) gram-positive pathogens, and 8 (13.1%) anaerobic pathogens. There were 17 patients bitten by cobra in these 21 patients. Morganella morganii and Enterococcus species were the most common pathogens identified in the wound cultures.



 Cobra bite causes more severe bacterial infection than other kinds of snakebites. Oral amoxicillin/clavulanate plus ciprofloxacin or parenteral piperacillin/tazobactam alone can be the choices for empirical or definitive treatment, and surgical intervention should be considered for established invasive soft tissue infections.


Key words:

 Bacterial infectionCobraSnakebite