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Snakebite deaths spike in Plateau, Gombe as floods, reptiles sack residents

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THE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decried the rising cases of snake bites across the country as humans and reptiles clash in dry lands while scurrying away from devastating floods. 

  In a report made available to the media, Chief Medical Officer , Dr Suleiman Mohammed who visited areas prone to snake bites and the treatment centres, found a sharp rise in the cases, with more deaths recorded as floods had blocked access to treatment centres.

  Among those killed was the wife of the village head of Magama in Langtang South Local Government of the Plateau State. “Yes, I can confirm that there is a huge rise in snakebite cases; one of the victims was the wife of the village head of Magama.

   “It is time to harvest groundnuts and maize, but going to the farm is very dangerous now because snake bites are rampant.

  “Farmers cannot leave their crops in the bush, so contact with the snakes is often inevitable,” he said.

Meanwhile, statistics from the hospital indicate that 1,900 victims of snake bites have been admitted since January.

  Dr Suleiman Mohammed said that most of the victims were herders and farmers who were mostly in the bush and usually at risk.

  “When the rains get to the peak, we tend to have more patients because most of the snakes are dislodged from their holes and hiding places by the waters.

“So, when there is a flood, it is linked to incidents of snake bites because the flood tends to move the snakes away from their usual habitat, and they often go to areas where humans live.”

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He said that six deaths had been recorded in October, with the rest spread across January to September.

  Reports from Lokoja in Kogi also indicated that snake attacks had become common with people living in fear.

  “We live in fear of snakes but we thank God that we have not recorded any incident of snakebite,” Usman Agbaje, a resident, told newsmen.

  He said travelers plying the flooded Ganaja-Lokoja road had often encountered big snakes while in the boats.

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