Epidemiology of the reported severity of cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) snakebite

Frank G. Walter, Uwe Stolz, Robert N.E. French, Peter B. Chase, Jude McNally, Farshad Shirazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this study was to analyze trends in the annual rates of reported medical outcomes of cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) snakebites in the United States, published in the annual reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers in the course of 29 years. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of medical outcomes for cottonmouth snakebite victims who developed fatal, major, moderate, minor, or no effects. The annual rates for these medical outcomes were calculated by dividing the annual number of patients in each outcome category by the total annual number of people reported as being bitten by cottonmouths. Negative binomial regression was used to examine trends in annual rates. Results: From 1985 through 2011, after controlling for the availability of CroFab, the annual incidence rate of cottonmouth snakebites causing no effect decreased significantly by 7.3%/year (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.927, 95%confidence interval [CI] 0.885-0.970), the incidence rate of minor outcomes did not change significantly (IRR 0.989, CI 0.974-1.006), the incidence rate of moderate outcomes increased significantly by 2.3%/year (IRR 1.023, CI 1.004-1.042), and the incidence rate of major outcomes did not change significantly (IRR 0.987, CI 0.935-1.041). One fatality was reported in 2011. Conclusions: Annual rates of cottonmouth snakebites producing no effects decreased significantly, those producing minor outcomes did not change significantly, those producing moderate outcomes increased significantly, and those producing major outcomes did not change significantly, from 1985 through 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Agkistrodon piscivorus
  • Cottonmouth snakebites
  • Epidemiology
  • Poison control centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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