Snakebite now a notifiable disease in Karnataka


PTI, Feb 20, 2024, 2:17 PM IST

The Karnataka government has made snakebite a notifiable disease in the state across all health facilities on the Integrated Health Information Platform, an official order released on Monday said.

According to an official notification dated February 12 , Karnataka’s Health Department has directed all private and government hospitals as well as medical institutes to register all the cases of snakebites — be it in-patients, out-patients and death cases on the Integrated health Information Platform.

This means that any snakebite case in the state presented to a private or government hospital, must be reported under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program of the state government.

The move comes in the wake of increased incidents of snakebite in Karnataka.

As per a report and data from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, in 2023 alone (between January and October) the state recorded 5,316 snakebites.

Welcoming the move, Humane Society International (HSI) India said it commends the government’s surveillance measures to reduce the burden of snakebite and celebrates the landmark decision of Karnataka becoming the first state in India to declare snakebite a notifiable disease.

For any intervention to prevent and treat snakebite successfully, data of its prevalence is the first step. By mandating reporting of this disease, the government has ensured that data on a larger volume of snakebite cases will be captured to begin with, it said in a statement.

“This is an important step in ensuring a high degree of surveillance, and we applaud the state government for being the first in the country to do this. This, coupled with other interventions, will go a long way in meaningfully addressing snakebites, reducing the animosity that exists between humans and snakes and eventually lead to fewer mortality in both,” said Shubhra Sotie, wildlife research and policy specialist at HSI India.

Sumanth Bindumadhav, director of wildlife protection at HSI India said, “This move by the Karnataka government steps up surveillance at the state level to better inform policy decisions on prevention, treatment and management of snakebites in the state. This could be the start of a snowball effect that leads to other states following suit.”

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