The envenomation syndrome caused by the Australian Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porphyriacus

Pearn, J. H., McGuire, B., McGuire, L. and Richardson, P. (2000) The envenomation syndrome caused by the Australian Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porphyriacus. Toxicon, 38 12: 1715-1729. doi:10.1016/S0041-0101(00)00102-1

Author Pearn, J. H.
McGuire, B.
McGuire, L.
Richardson, P.
Title The envenomation syndrome caused by the Australian Red-bellied Black Snake Pseudechis porphyriacus
Journal name Toxicon   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0041-0101
Publication date 2000-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S0041-0101(00)00102-1
Open Access Status
Volume 38
Issue 12
Start page 1715
End page 1729
Total pages 15
Editor Alan Harvey
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject C1
320504 Toxicology (incl. Clinical Toxicology)
730199 Clinical health not specific to particular organs, diseases and conditions
Abstract The Australian elapids inject venom which is characteristic of each species; and which cause characteristic and specific envenomation syndromes in human victims of snakebite. Because many of the medically significant Australian elapids look similar, when glimpsed in the field by snakebite victims, defining human envenomation syndromes with secure species identification has been a slow process. Correlations between securely identified species and the human envenomation syndromes which they produce are still evolving. The genus Pseudechis is the most widespread in Australia of the dangerous Australian elapid genera; and P. porphyriacus, the Red-bellied Black Snake, was the first terrestrial Australian elapid to be described and illustrated and the first to be the subject of experimental study. We present here five previously unreported cases of human envenomation in which the species diagnosis is secure. From these and with the perspective of a selected literature review, we describe the full envenomation syndrome of this species. Until the development of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories' Venom Detection Kit in 1979 and the occasional case report of victims of securely identified species, envenomation syndromes for most Australian snake species have remained indeterminate, because of the lack of professional expertise in the identification of the species involved. Symptoms of the P. porphyriacus envenomation syndrome include those of bite-site pain, nausea and vomiting, generalised pruritis. chest pain, prostration and abnormalities of taste and smell. Signs include local necrosis and scarring of tissue at the bite-site, gross inflammation of surrounding tissues and, at least in one case, epilepsy. Although envenomation by the Red-bellied Black Snake is not lethal in adults, the correct therapy is Tiger Snake antivenom, administered with judgement, taking into account knowledge of the specific envenomation syndrome of this species and the clinical status of the victim. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Elapid Snakes
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 20:55:17 EST