STAT

Opinion: Snakebites are on the rise as snakes migrate with climate change

Climate change is making snakes' traditional territories uninhabitable. As their migrations put them in closer contact with people, snakebites — already at 5 million a year — will rise.
A Burmese python sits in the grass at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Source: RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

Mwende, a smart 13-year-old girl who dreams of being an engineer, was picking tomatoes in her backyard in the outskirts of Nairobi when a venomous puff adder bit her on the right arm. Although her father rushed her to the hospital, it lacked antivenom medication and the only way to save her life was to amputate her arm.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Mwende (not her real name) became part of an exploding global problem of snakebites.

As the climate changes, snakes are on the move and snakebites are becoming more worldwide have been bitten by snakes, with nearly 5.4 million bites in the last year alone. On average, from the bite of a venomous snake. And these worrisome numbers are underestimates, since , especially in poor rural areas.

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