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Snakebites are associated with poverty, weather fluctuations, and El Niño.

Chaves LF, Chuang TW, Sasa M, Gutiérrez JM - Sci Adv (2015)

Bottom Line: We emphasize El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a climatic phenomenon associated with cycles of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the region and elsewhere.We found that periodicity in snakebites reflects snake reproductive phenology and is associated with ENSO.Nevertheless, snakebites cluster in Costa Rican areas with the heaviest rainfall, increase with poverty indicators, and decrease with altitude.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Sakamoto 1-12-4, Nagasaki, Japan. ; Program for Tropical Disease Research (PIET), School of Veterinary Medicine, National University of Costa Rica, P.O. Box 304-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.

ABSTRACT
Snakebites are environmental and occupational health hazards that mainly affect rural populations worldwide. The ectothermic nature of snakes raises the issue of how climate change's impact on snake ecology could influence the incidence of snakebites in humans in ways that echo the increased predation pressure of snakes on their prey. We thus ask whether snakebites reported in Costa Rica from 2005 to 2013 were associated with meteorological fluctuations. We emphasize El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a climatic phenomenon associated with cycles of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the region and elsewhere. We ask how spatial heterogeneity in snakebites and poverty are associated, given the importance of the latter for NTDs. We found that periodicity in snakebites reflects snake reproductive phenology and is associated with ENSO. Snakebites are more likely to occur at high temperatures and may be significantly reduced after the rainy season. Nevertheless, snakebites cluster in Costa Rican areas with the heaviest rainfall, increase with poverty indicators, and decrease with altitude. Altogether, our results suggest that snakebites might vary as a result of climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Snakes and snakebites in CR.(A) The terciopelo B. asper. (B) Average annual snakebite incidence, by canton, from 2005 to 2013. County color indicates snakebite incidence rate, county boundary color indicates relative risk, and a marking described in the map legend indicates the primary cluster.
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Figure 1: Snakes and snakebites in CR.(A) The terciopelo B. asper. (B) Average annual snakebite incidence, by canton, from 2005 to 2013. County color indicates snakebite incidence rate, county boundary color indicates relative risk, and a marking described in the map legend indicates the primary cluster.

Mentions: Snakes are ectothermic organisms whose distribution, movement, foraging patterns (10), and life history strategies (9) change as a function of weather fluctuations. With warming, increased predation by some snakes has been reported (8), supporting the notion that climate variability could influence snakebites, a related antagonistic interaction. Independently of changes in snake biology, the increased vulnerability of destitute populations exposed to snakes because of a lack of appropriate shelter in the face of extreme weather events (11) can increase the occurrence of snakebites, underscoring the relevance of socioeconomic factors to understanding changes in venomous snakebite patterns associated with weather, climate change, and variability, thus raising the need for understanding the interplay of both factors given the observations and expectations of more frequent extreme weather events with climate change (12). Costa Rica (CR) is an ideal setting for studying snakebites because most of the population affected by snakebites seeks treatment in health posts (13), where free treatment is provided and snakebite reporting is mandatory. This wealth of high-quality data contrasts with data records from other regions of the world where underreporting is associated with poorly developed health systems (14, 15). CR is located in an area where El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has marked effects on weather patterns (12). Most snakebites in CR are attributable to the terciopelo Bothrops asper (Fig. 1A), and terciopelos and their bites are widespread across the neotropics (9). All these factors make CR an ideal setting for determining whether snakebite dynamics are influenced by changing weather patterns and for understanding how poverty might influence the spatial distribution of snakebites given the high degree of socioeconomic inequity across the country (16).


Snakebites are associated with poverty, weather fluctuations, and El Niño.

Chaves LF, Chuang TW, Sasa M, Gutiérrez JM - Sci Adv (2015)

Snakes and snakebites in CR.(A) The terciopelo B. asper. (B) Average annual snakebite incidence, by canton, from 2005 to 2013. County color indicates snakebite incidence rate, county boundary color indicates relative risk, and a marking described in the map legend indicates the primary cluster.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4643785&req=5

Figure 1: Snakes and snakebites in CR.(A) The terciopelo B. asper. (B) Average annual snakebite incidence, by canton, from 2005 to 2013. County color indicates snakebite incidence rate, county boundary color indicates relative risk, and a marking described in the map legend indicates the primary cluster.
Mentions: Snakes are ectothermic organisms whose distribution, movement, foraging patterns (10), and life history strategies (9) change as a function of weather fluctuations. With warming, increased predation by some snakes has been reported (8), supporting the notion that climate variability could influence snakebites, a related antagonistic interaction. Independently of changes in snake biology, the increased vulnerability of destitute populations exposed to snakes because of a lack of appropriate shelter in the face of extreme weather events (11) can increase the occurrence of snakebites, underscoring the relevance of socioeconomic factors to understanding changes in venomous snakebite patterns associated with weather, climate change, and variability, thus raising the need for understanding the interplay of both factors given the observations and expectations of more frequent extreme weather events with climate change (12). Costa Rica (CR) is an ideal setting for studying snakebites because most of the population affected by snakebites seeks treatment in health posts (13), where free treatment is provided and snakebite reporting is mandatory. This wealth of high-quality data contrasts with data records from other regions of the world where underreporting is associated with poorly developed health systems (14, 15). CR is located in an area where El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has marked effects on weather patterns (12). Most snakebites in CR are attributable to the terciopelo Bothrops asper (Fig. 1A), and terciopelos and their bites are widespread across the neotropics (9). All these factors make CR an ideal setting for determining whether snakebite dynamics are influenced by changing weather patterns and for understanding how poverty might influence the spatial distribution of snakebites given the high degree of socioeconomic inequity across the country (16).

Bottom Line: We emphasize El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a climatic phenomenon associated with cycles of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the region and elsewhere.We found that periodicity in snakebites reflects snake reproductive phenology and is associated with ENSO.Nevertheless, snakebites cluster in Costa Rican areas with the heaviest rainfall, increase with poverty indicators, and decrease with altitude.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Sakamoto 1-12-4, Nagasaki, Japan. ; Program for Tropical Disease Research (PIET), School of Veterinary Medicine, National University of Costa Rica, P.O. Box 304-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica.

ABSTRACT
Snakebites are environmental and occupational health hazards that mainly affect rural populations worldwide. The ectothermic nature of snakes raises the issue of how climate change's impact on snake ecology could influence the incidence of snakebites in humans in ways that echo the increased predation pressure of snakes on their prey. We thus ask whether snakebites reported in Costa Rica from 2005 to 2013 were associated with meteorological fluctuations. We emphasize El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a climatic phenomenon associated with cycles of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the region and elsewhere. We ask how spatial heterogeneity in snakebites and poverty are associated, given the importance of the latter for NTDs. We found that periodicity in snakebites reflects snake reproductive phenology and is associated with ENSO. Snakebites are more likely to occur at high temperatures and may be significantly reduced after the rainy season. Nevertheless, snakebites cluster in Costa Rican areas with the heaviest rainfall, increase with poverty indicators, and decrease with altitude. Altogether, our results suggest that snakebites might vary as a result of climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus