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Pregnant woman dies from bite by world’s deadliest snake — after giving birth

A Cameroon woman tragically died from a carpet viper bite mere hours after giving birth to her child, per a harrowing case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A Cameroon woman tragically died from a carpet viper bite mere hours after giving birth to her child, per a harrowing case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A Cameroon woman tragically died from a highly venomous snake bite mere hours after giving birth to her child, per a harrowing case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“A combination of the systemic envenomation from a carpet viper bite and the resulting complications led to the fatal outcome in the mother,” co-author Yap Boum wrote in the paper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The unnamed 25-year-old patient, who was seven months pregnant at the time, had reported to the Poli District Hospital with vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain and intermittent contractions.

The expectant parent revealed that a highly venomous carpet viper — which reportedly kills more people than any other species on Earth — had bitten her left foot an hour before she arrived.

A pregnant woman died from a carpet viper bite mere hours after giving birth to her son. mgkuijpers – stock.adobe.com
A pregnant woman died from a carpet viper bite mere hours after giving birth to her son. mgkuijpers – stock.adobe.com
The carpet or small-scaled viper, the deadliest snake on Earth, is responsible for more deaths than all other species combined. Kevin – stock.adobe.com
The carpet or small-scaled viper, the deadliest snake on Earth, is responsible for more deaths than all other species combined. Kevin – stock.adobe.com

That led doctors to deduce that her vaginal hemorrhage was caused by the snakebite, and they were also tipped off by her low platelet count and the presence of coagulopathy, an inability to produce blood clots.

“Given that she reported that a snakebite had occurred approximately one hour before presentation, envenomation (poisoning by venom) is the most likely diagnosis,” wrote Karl Njuwa Fai, a doctor at Cameroon’s Homegrown Solutions for Health.

Despite doctors administering antivenom upon arrival, the patient’s bleeding and pelvic pain spiked during her third day at the facility.

Medics discovered that the woman had gone into labor, and, a day later, she gave birth to a 7½-pound baby boy.

“A combination of the systemic envenomation from a carpet viper bite and the resulting complications led to the fatal outcome in the mother,” co-author Yap Boum wrote in the paper. paulmz – stock.adobe.com
“A combination of the systemic envenomation from a carpet viper bite and the resulting complications led to the fatal outcome in the mother,” co-author Yap Boum wrote in the paper. paulmz – stock.adobe.com

Unfortunately, the miraculous moment was short-lived: Due to continued bleeding, the patient was transferred to another facility, where doctors diagnosed her with acute kidney failure.

She succumbed to her condition later that day despite “aggressive treatment” with antivenom and blood transfusions, Poli District Hospital Hamdja Moustafa wrote in the paper.

However, it was lucky that she delivered her son when she did, as the early birth played an important part in his survival, Boum wrote.

While snake bites during pregnancy are rare, they often prove fatal for both mother and child.

This case was particularly serious given that the culprit was a highly venomous carpet or saw-scaled viper, which scientists claim is the world’s deadliest snake.

And while technically its venom isn’t the most potent — that distinction goes to the inland taipan — the viper’s “aggressiveness means it bites early and often,” according to Britannica.

Fortunately, the viper’s venom is lethal in less than 10 percent of untreated victims.