BACKGROUND: Snakebites is a serious public health issue but remains a neglected tropical disease. Data on antivenom effectiveness are urgently needed in Africa. We assessed effectiveness of Inoserp PAN-AFRICA (IPA), the recommended antivenom available in Cameroon.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled 447 patients presenting with snakebite in 14 health facilities across Cameroon. At presentation, cytotoxicity, coagulation troubles and neurotoxicity were graded. We administered two to four vials of antivenom to patients based on hemotoxic or neurotoxic signs. We renewed antivenom administration to patients with persistence of bleedings or neurotoxicity 2 hours after each injection. We defined early improvement as a reduction of the grade of envenomation symptoms 2 hours after first injection. Medium-term effectiveness was investigated looking at disappearance of symptoms during hospitalization. After hospital discharge, a home visit was planned to assess long-term outcomes. Between October 2019 and May 2021, we enrolled 447 (93.7%), including 72% from the savannah regions. The median [IQR] age was 25 [14-40]. Envenomation was diagnosed in 369 (82.6%) participants. The antivenom was administered to 356 patients (96.5%) of whom 256 (71.9%) received one administration. Among these patients, cytotoxic symptoms were observed in 336 (94.4%) participants, coagulation disorders in 234 (65.7%) participants and neurotoxicity in 23 (6.5%) participants. Two hours after the first administration of antivenom, we observed a decrease in coagulation disorders or neurotoxicity in 75.2% and 39.1% of patients, respectively. Complete cessation of bleedings and neurotoxicity occurred in 96% and 93% of patients within 24 hours, respectively. Sequelae have been observed in 9 (3%) patients at the home visit 15 days after hospital admission and 11 (3%) died including one before antivenom injection.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We confirmed good effectiveness of the IPA and highlighted the rapid improvement in bleeding or neurotoxicity after the first administration. Sequential administrations of low doses of antivenom, rigorously assessed at short intervals for an eventual renewal, can preserve patient safety and save antivenom.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03326492.
Copyright: © 2023 Chippaux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.