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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-12

Neuroparalytic snake bite masquerading as acute abdominal pain in children

Department of Pediatrics, GMC, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bindu Deopa
Anurjun Nursing Home, Kaladhungi Road, Nainital, Haldwani - 263 139, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipcares.ipcares_295_22

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Background: Neurotoxic snakebite (usually by the krait) presents with abdominal colic and chest pain as a common premonitory sign of envenomation. Being a nocturnal snake, the time of unprovoked painless biting is usually at night and the victims are individuals sleeping on the ground. Thus, history is usually not forthcoming. Snakebite causes morbidity (neuroparalytic, myopathic, vasculopathic, venom-induced consumption coagulopathy, cardiotoxic, nephrotoxic, etc.), and mortality if not given timely treatment with anti-snake venom (ASV), the only specific treatment. Clinical Description: We present four children from a rural background who were admitted successively over a month during the last rainy season. They initially became symptomatic with acute abdominal pain from midnight to early morning time and developed neuroparalytic manifestations within a few hours. On exclusion of other causes by clinical evaluation, we suspected snakebite envenomation though there was no witnessing of the event or evidence of fang bites. Investigations to rule out commonly associated organ dysfunction were ordered. Management: All children were given supportive therapy. Three cases required mechanical ventilation. The first two received ASV relatively late as the suspicion of snakebite was not considered initially. In the third case, the administration of ASV was early and the hospital stay was shorter. The fourth case received ASV at a peripheral health center and was referred in case he required ventilator support. However, his neuroparalysis did not progress to respiratory failure and he was discharged the earliest. Conclusions: Clinicians should consider snakebite in children belonging to rural areas who present with acute abdominal pain during the rainy season, and monitor for signs of neurotoxicity and other clinical manifestations of snake envenomation. A high index of suspicion should be kept, as definitive treatment with ASV results in early recovery without any sequelae, and reduces mortality.

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