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The Urgent Need to Develop Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites
Open AccessReview

Philodryas (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) Envenomation, a Neglected Issue in Chile

Programa de Farmacología Molecular y Clínica, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas (ICBM), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 1027, Casilla 7, Santiago 7800003, Chile
Network for Snake Venom Research and Drug Discovery, Santiago 7800003, Chile
Área de Herpetología, Colección Boliviana de Fauna, c. 27 de Cota Cota, La Paz 10077, Bolivia
Instituto de Química de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Talca, Casilla 747, Talca 3460000, Chile
Programa de Investigación Asociativa en Cáncer Gástrico, Universidad de Talca, Casilla 747, Talca 3460000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 697;
Received: 1 November 2019 / Revised: 22 November 2019 / Accepted: 23 November 2019 / Published: 29 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Strategies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Snakebites)
Snakebite envenomation is considered a neglected tropical disease, although it also occurs outside the tropics. In this work, we analyzed the literature on Philodryas species in Chile (Philodryas chamissonis, P. simonsii, and P. tachymenoides) from 1834 to 2019, searching for epidemiological, clinical, and molecular aspects of envenomation. Ninety-one percent of the studies found regarded taxonomy, ecology, and natural history, suggesting that snakebites and venom toxins are a neglected issue in Chile. All snakebite cases reported and toxicological studies concerned the species Philodryas chamissonis. Using 185 distributional records from the literature and museum collections for this species, we show for the first time that the reported snakebite cases correlate with human population density, occurring in the Valparaiso and Metropolitan regions in Central Chile. The reduced number of snakebite cases, which were previously considered as having a low incidence in Chile, may be a consequence of under-reported cases, probably due to the inadequate publication or scarce research on this issue. Absence of information about official pharmacological treatment, post-envenoming sequels, clinical management of particular patient groups (e.g., with non-communicable diseases, pregnant women, and the elderly) was also detected. In conclusion, despite having over 185 years of literature on Chilean snakes, knowledge on the envenomation of Philodryas genus remains scarce, seriously affecting adequate medical handling during an ophidic accident. This review highlights the need to develop deep research in this area and urgent improvements to the management of this disease in Chile. View Full-Text
Keywords: snakebite; opisthoglyphous; Philodryas; toxins; colubrid; therapeutics snakebite; opisthoglyphous; Philodryas; toxins; colubrid; therapeutics
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Urra, F.A.; Miranda-Calle, A.B.; Araya-Maturana, R. Philodryas (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) Envenomation, a Neglected Issue in Chile. Toxins 2019, 11, 697.

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