Exotic snakebite: Envenomation by an African puff adder (Bitis arietans)

Tareg A. Bey, Leslie V. Boyer, Frank G. Walter, Jude McNally, Heeten Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We report an envenomation by the African puff adder (Bitis arietans), an exotic snake in the United States. The patient developed swelling and ecchymoses in the affected extremity, and cutaneous necrosis of the envenomated fingertip. There was no significant coagulopathy. He received 20 vials of specific antivenin (Schlangen-gift-Immunserum Behring Zentralafrika, Behringwerke, Marburg, Germany) and debridement of devitalized finger tissue. The only permanent sequelae were cutaneous scarring and permanent loss of the fingernail on the envenomated finger. Exotic snakebite is a rare presenting problem in emergency departments. The initial approach to a patient envenomated by an exotic venomous snake is discussed. Use of antivenin and supportive care are emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-831
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1997


  • African puff adder
  • Antivenin
  • Bitis arietans
  • Emergency department
  • Exotic snakebite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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