Profile of Snake Bite Deaths in South India: An Autopsy based Stud


  • Shanmugam K
  • Gerard Pradeep Devnath S



Snake bite, gender, species of snake, acute tubular necrosis, autopsy


Background: The burden due to the morbidity and mortality of snake bite in India is significantly higher. It
is estimated around 1.2 million snakebite deaths (average 58,000/year) has occurred in India from the year
2000 to 2019. However the real burden of snake bite is unknown due to under reporting. This study aims to
bring out region specific data on fatal snake bites
Results: The study was conducted at the dep of forensic medicine from 2016 to 2020. A total of 75 cases of
fatal snake bite cases were autopsied. The number of female cases 39 (52.3) and males were 36 (48.0). The
maximum no 52 (69.4%) cases were reported between the months of April to September. The common time
for snake bite was in the night 40 (53.3%) followed by the daytime 33 (44.0%). The place of incidence where
most of the bites happened was in and around the homes of the victims 46 (61.3) followed by the workplaces
29 (38.7%). The commonest site were the bite mark was noted in the lower limbs 33 (44%) cases. Around 22
(23.9%) cases were seen in age groups of 45 to 59 years and 19 (25.3%) cases in 35 to 44 years. The species
of snake in majority of the cases i.e., 65 (86.7%) was unknown. Around 40 (53.3%) cases of kidney samples
showed acute tubular followed by congestion.
Conclusion: The number of fatal bites were comparatively higher than that of the statistics available. Most of
the findings of our study was consistent with the similar studies. The species of snake was largely unknown
in this study because new snake species like hump nose pit viper can inflict fatal bites and are difficult to
identify. Region specific data on snake bite will reflect the exact volume of snake bites in the country and
would largely help in drafting policies to reduce mortality

Author Biographies

Shanmugam K

Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Government Villupuram Medical College and Hospital,
Tamil Nadu

Gerard Pradeep Devnath S

Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College Hospital
and Research Center, Pondicherry




How to Cite

Shanmugam K, & Gerard Pradeep Devnath S. (2021). Profile of Snake Bite Deaths in South India: An Autopsy based Stud. Medico Legal Update, 21(4), 342–347.