Older Age and Time to Medical Assistance Are Associated with Severity and Mortality of Snakebites in the Brazilian Amazon: A Case-Control Study.


The Amazon region reports the highest incidence of snakebite envenomings in Brazil. We aimed to describe the epidemiology of snakebites in the state of Amazonas and to investigate factors associated with disease severity and lethality. We used a nested case-control study, in order to identify factors associated with snakebite severity and mortality using official Brazilian reporting systems, from 2007 to 2012. Patients evolving to severity or death were considered cases and those with non-severe bites were included in the control group. During the study period, 9,191 snakebites were recorded, resulting in an incidence rate of 52.8 cases per 100,000 person/years. Snakebites mostly occurred in males (79.0%) and in rural areas (70.2%). The most affected age group was between 16 and 45 years old (54.6%). Fifty five percent of the snakebites were related to work activities. Age ≤15 years [OR=1.26 (95% CI=1.03-1.52); (p=0.018)], age ≥65 years [OR=1.53 (95% CI=1.09-2.13); (p=0.012)], work related bites [OR=1.39 (95% CI=1.17-1.63); (p6 hours [OR=1.73 (95% CI=1.45-2.07); (p6 hours [OR=2.01 (95% CI=1.15-3.50); (p=0.013)] were independently associated with the risk of death. Snakebites represent an occupational health problem for rural populations in the Brazilian Amazon with a wide distribution. These results highlight the need for public health strategies aiming to reduce occupational injuries. Most cases of severe disease occurred in the extremes of age, in those with delays in medical attention and those caused by Micrurus bites. These features of victims of snakebite demand adequate management according to well-defined protocols, including prompt referral to tertiary centres when necessary, as well as an effective response from surveillance systems and policy makers for these vulnerable groups.