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Knowledge of venomous snakes, snakebite first aid, treatment, and prevention among clinicians in northern Nigeria: a cross-sectional multicentre study.

Snakebite envenoming causes considerable morbidity and mortality in northern Nigeria. The clinician’s knowledge of snakebite impacts outcome. We assessed clinicians’ knowledge of snakebite envenoming to highlight knowledge and practice gaps for possible intervention to improve snakebite outcomes.
This was a cross-sectional multicentre study of 374 doctors selected from the accident and emergency, internal medicine, family medicine/general outpatient, paediatrics and surgery departments of nine tertiary hospitals in northern Nigeria using a multistage sampling technique. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess their sociodemographics, knowledge of common venomous snakes, snakebite first aid, snake antivenom treatment and prevention.
The respondents’ mean age was 35.6±5.8 y. They were predominantly males (70.6%) from urban hospitals (71.9%), from the northwest region (35.3%), in family medicine/general outpatient departments (33.4%), of <10 years working experience (66.3%) and had previous experience in snakebite management (78.3%). Although their mean overall knowledge score was 70.2±12.6%, only 52.9% had an adequate overall knowledge score. Most had adequate knowledge of snakebite clinical features (62.3%), first aid (75.7%) and preventive measures (97.1%), but only 50.8% and 25.1% had adequate knowledge of snake species that caused most injuries/deaths and anti–snake venom treatment, respectively. Overall knowledge predictors were ≥10 y working experience (odd ratio [OR] 1.72 [95% confidence interval {CI} 1.07 to 2.76]), urban hospital setting (OR 0.58 [95% CI 0.35 to 0.96]), surgery department (OR 0.44 [95% CI 0.24 to 0.81]), northwest/north-central region (OR 2.36 [95% CI 1.46 to 3.82]) and previous experience in snakebite management (OR 2.55 [95% CI 1.49 to 4.36]).
Overall knowledge was low. Improvements in overall knowledge may require clinicians’ exposure to snakebite management and training of accident and emergency clinicians in the region.

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Journal Article
Michael GC
Grema BA
Aliyu I
Alhaji MA
Lawal TO
Ibrahim H
Fikin AG
Gyaran FS
Kane KN
Thacher TD
Badamasi AK
Ogwuche E
Year of Publication
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
ISSN Number
Alternate Journal
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg
Publication Language