Australian snake venoms: immunological cross-reactivity and detection in envenomed patients

Tammy Jacoby

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    1099 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] There are up to 3,000 reported snakebites in humans and an estimated 6,000 snakebites in domestic animals each year in Australia. Some Australian elapids of medical importance include Brown snakes (Pseudonaja spp.), Tiger snakes (Notechis spp.) and related snakes (Stephens' banded (Hoplocephalus stephensii) and rough scaled snakes (Tropidechis carinatus) which are the focus of this thesis. Their venoms contain one of more of the following; potent coagulant, myolytic, and neurotoxic components. Envenomings by these snakes result in similar initial clinical presentations, predominantly coagulopathy, and cause serious morbidity in patients. Members of the tiger snake group are indistinguishable from each other by the commercial venom detection kit so it is unclear what proportion of bites is due to each of these closely related species (Notechis sp, H.stephensii and T.carinatus). Crude venom has previously been measured in envenomed brown snake patients and a small number of tiger snake patients by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) but has not been reported for the closely related tiger snake group. Moreover, the quantitation of venom and individual venom components has not been reported in clinically envenomed domestic animals. Under the umbrella of the Australian Snakebite Project (ASP) and in collaboration with the Murdoch Emergency Pet Centre (MPEC), 19 envenomed human and 14 domestic animal patients were examined for this study. This thesis focuses on the coagulopathic effects of Australian snake venoms as venom-induced consumptive coagulopathy (VICC) is the most common potentially lethal clinical manifestation of envenoming. While a considerable amount is already known about the structure and function of Australian elapid venom procoagulants, it is not known whether the severity of VICC varies between species of snake and whether the current antivenoms are sufficiently effective. ...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009

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