Maharashtra: 3-year-old dies of snake bite in Nandurbar; third death in four months

Tabassum Barnagarwala
Chandan Pawara was bitten on his leg at around 1.30 pm, Friday. (Representational Image)

A three-year-old boy succumbed to a snake bite injury on Friday night in Nandurbar’s Taloda block after he was referred from one hospital to another for intensive care support. The incident occurred in one of the rehabilitation sites of Nandurbar where tribals affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam project have been shifted.

Chandan Pawara was bitten on his leg at around 1.30 pm, Friday. “He was crying, complaining of a stomach pain and vomiting. His parents discovered he was bitten by a snake and immediately rushed him to a rural hospital," said Orsing Tilya Patle, a local.

In Taloda sub-district hospital, doctors administered five vials of anti-snake venom and referred the boy to a civil hospital, an hour’s drive away. “Doctors said the boy was in serious condition and they could not treat him,” Patle said.

According to district health officer Dr Nitin Bodke, anti-snake venom was administered to the boy but doctors could not provide intensive support. “He was brought to the hospital at 2 pm. Our anaesthetist put him on drip and administered anti-snake venom. By 2.15 pm we referred the boy,” Bodke said.

The boy was unconscious by the time he was brought to the civil hospital. He was admitted in the intensive care unit, but succumbed to his injuries at around 10.30 pm. The doctor at the hospital said the venom had spread across his body and caused a neurotoxic reaction.

Chandan's parents, Irya and Manisha, are farmers. Irya told the police Manisha had rushed their son to the hospital when she saw a bite mark on his leg but only primary treatment could be provided.

This is the third incident in four months where a minor has succumbed to a snake bit in Nandurbar, which is a tribal district north of Maharashtra. In August, Rohit Padvi and Pravin Vasawe died at a tribal school.

Dr Himmatrao Bawaskar, an expert on treatment of snake bites, said, “If a patient does not get anti-snake venom or ventilator on time, he can die due to respiratory failure.”

Bawaskar added that abdomen pain was a common symptom of the Common Krait snake’s bite. “These snakes usually bite during the night between June and October. The bite marks are very small. It causes vomiting and the venom is slowly absorbed in the body affecting neuro-muscular function,” he said.

This snake bite often causes paralysis with death happening within 8-18 hours. “The only way to save a life is by providing ventilator support immediately to prevent death due to respiratory failure," he added.

In this case, Chandan was admitted on ventilator two hours after being bitten.

District officials said there is no paucity of anti-snake venom vials in Nandurbar. In the public health department, 2,300 vials are available, Bodke said.