Oklahoma sees increase in pygmy rattlesnake bites
October 1, 2017
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A child's recent encounter with a small snake has highlighted a growing issue for Oklahoma, which is seeing an increase in snake bites.
Adyson Griffin, 6, was bit by a pygmy rattlesnake last month while playing outside, the Tulsa World reported. She was airlifted to a hospital and treated with 38 vials of antivenin.
Adyson is recovering, but her mother, Tammy Collins, said her blood platelet count remains dangerously low.
"(The antivenin) would raise her count and then it would drop right down again," Collins said.
Dr. Phil Barton, medical director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, said the attack on the child's coagulation system, which can lead to internal bleeding, is a relatively new development that has threatened four children in Oklahoma.
In each case, the children received 20 to 30 vials of standard antivenin, which didn't show satisfactory results. He said the Tulsa Zoo stepped in to help provide Adyson 10 vials of a different kind of antivenin, called Antivipmyn, after 28 vials of the standard CroFab antivenin failed to help her, Barton said.
"The pygmy rattlesnake is interesting; it has a different type of antigen, one we can't describe yet, in its venom," Barton said. "Snakes evolve and venom can change and adapt, and we're seeing it becoming quite resistant to the CroFab now. We think the pygmy rattlesnake venom is morphing."
After the issue was recognized last year, pediatric Dr. William Banner, medical director of the Oklahoma Poison Control Center, co-wrote a paper that should lead to the release of a new antivenin treatment in 2018, Barton said.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com