Studies on the Antivenom Activities of the Aqueous Extracts : Current School News

Studies on the Antivenom Activities of the Aqueous Extracts of Paullinia Pinnata and Detarium Microcarpum Against Echis Carinatus (Carpet Viper) Venom

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– Studies on the Antivenom Activities of the Aqueous Extracts of Paullinia Pinnata and Detarium Microcarpum Against Echis Carinatus (Carpet Viper) Venom –

ABSTRACT

Paullinia pinnata Lnn (Family: Sapindaceae) and Detarium microcarpum Guill and Perr (Family: Caesalpiniaceae) are found throughout the savannah region of Nigeria.
The root bark of Paullinia pinnata and leaves of Detarium microcarpum are used by traditional healers in Nigeria for the treatment of snakebite patients.

This study indicates that aqueous extracts of the root of Paullinia pinnata and the leaves of Detarium microcarpum are effective in neutralizing the lethality and local effects of Echis carinatus venom in animals.
The pathological properties of Echis carinatus venom are mainly associated with haematological disturbances leading to haemorrhage and incoagulability of blood.
Some local pathological effects such as pain, tissue necrosis, oedema, and fever always accompany envenomation from this species of snake. Many of the conventional antivenoms are ineffective in antagonizing the local effects of the venom.
The neutralization of the activity of Echis carinatus venom by aqueous extracts of Paullinia pinnata root and Detarium microcarpum leaves therefore may have provided an insight into the possible usefulness of the plants in the treatment of snakebite in humans.

INTRODUCTION

Background of Study
Snakebite is a global medical problem especially in the rural areas of the tropics with about 40,000 deaths each year (Warrell, 1976).

The annual snakebite incidence in the savannah region of northern Nigeria has been estimated to be 497 per 100,000 populations, with 12.2% mortality due mainly to the carpet viper, Echis carinatus (Pugh and Theakston, 1980).
In the recent past, studies indicate that the situation has not improved as the incidence of snakebite worldwide has been reported to be in excess of 3,000,000 per year with more than 150,000 deaths (Mustapha, 2003).
In another report the incidence of snakebite is still high; with an estimated 10,000 deaths occurring every year (Mustapha, 2003) and the carpet viper still the main culprit (Mustapha, 2003; (Warrell, 1976).
The incidence of snakebite is often associated with agricultural activities with the highest at the beginning of the rainy season. The other important factor responsible for the increase in snakebite cases is flood which drives out snakes from their burrows (Warrell et al., 1977).
The commonest snakes of clinical importance in Nigeria comprise the cobras (Naja species) and the vipers (e.g. Echis).
The carpet viper has been reported to be a very dangerous snake and its victims are mainly farmers, hunters and herdsmen; most of who are of young productive ages.
Nigerian carpet viper, Echis carinatus ocellatus, is commonly found in the Benue- Niger valley axis and the hilly north-eastern part of the country (Warrell and Arnett, 1976; Mustapha 2003; Warrell et al., 1977).

REFERENCES

Aben T. (1998). Traditional Healing in Africa. Mission Bulletin. Issue 28 (2):1-5. REC Publications (Internet source).
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