The Medical Officer of Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH, in Zamko, Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State, Dr. Nyam Azi, said no fewer than 280 victims of snake bites were treated from November 2016 to January, 2017.
Azi made the disclosure in a chat with journalists, saying that November alone accounted for the highest figure of 210.
According to him, many children between the age of 7 and 10 were receiving treatment as a result of the snake bites.
He added that 25 cases were received in the last three weeks, but one person died because his case was presented late.
The Medical Officer further explained that the children go in search of rats and get bitten by snakes when they dip their fingers into rat holes.
“For the adults, the situation was worse during the harvest season because people went to the farms without putting on boots and gloves.
He, however, said, “The hospital is struggling to cope, though the Federal Government had provided 100 vials of anti-snake venom.
“We get lots of cases, so the vials given by government are not sufficient; during the hot season, the 100 vials can be exhausted in five days, and a vial of anti-snake venom costs N27,000 and many victims, who could not afford that amount, usually seek alternative treatments.
“Some go to native doctors leading to high mortality; many people just die at home. We have challenged them to do the economic arithmetic; a rat is not worth N27,000. It costs just about N50 to N70.
“We have also advised them to stop moving around at night; where they must, they should use torch lights and try to avoid snakes’ possible habitats.”
Azi advised people in affected areas to rear pigs and ducks because they were sources of biological control of snakes.
“The two are natural predators that eat snakes and deplete their population,” he stressed.