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Business News/ Industry / Snakebites to be brought under Epidemic Act
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Snakebites to be brought under Epidemic Act

The guidelines framed by the National Centre for Disease Control is expected to be released at the launch of a National Action Plan for Snakebite Venom later this month.

The guidelines also emphasize the need to establish region-specific venom banks and make provision for region-specific ASV. Premium
The guidelines also emphasize the need to establish region-specific venom banks and make provision for region-specific ASV.

New Delhi: The health ministry has firmed up a new policy that will class snakebites, which causes 58,000 deaths every year in India, as a problem of epidemic proportions.

The policy makes will make it mandatory for snakebite cases and deaths to be reported under the Epidemic Disease Act, according two officials aware of the matter.

The guidelines framed by the National Centre for Disease Control is expected to be released at the launch of National Action Plan for Snakebite Venom (NAPSE) later this month. 

Under the guidelines it will also become mandatory for all hospitals and medical colleges including private facilities to enter all snakebite cases and deaths on the Integrated Health Information Portal (IHIP).

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, over one million people are bitten by snakes every year, causing significant disability in over 200,000 people. The objective of NAPSE is to halve the mortality and disability associated with snakebites by 2030.

The guidelines also emphasize the need to establish region-specific venom banks and make provision for region-specific Anti Snake Venoms (ASV). Non-availability or limited supply of ASV has been previously reported in India.

Currently, there are eight Indian manufacturers of ASV jabs with a total installed capacity of 6.75 million vials per annum. Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute has been a pioneer in developing Indian anti-venom serums since 1899. These are developed using venoms from the big four venomous snakes commonly found in India – the  cobra, common krait, Russell viper and saw-scaled viper. 

With the launch of the guidelines, India would becomethe first country in Asia to have a national programme for prevention and control of snakebites. Recently, the Karnataka government also made snakebite deaths and cases notifiable under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020.

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Published: 03 Mar 2024, 09:26 PM IST
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