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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 135

Mosquito net: An underrecognized protection measure against snakebites


1 Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
2 Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Submission21-Apr-2016
Date of Acceptance11-Nov-2016
Date of Web Publication05-Jan-2017

Correspondence Address:
Sudipta Ranjan Singh
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, AIIMS, AT/PO-Dumduma, Bhubaneswar - 751 019, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2008-7802.197686

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How to cite this article:
Mallik S, Singh SR, Sahoo J, Mohanty MK. Mosquito net: An underrecognized protection measure against snakebites. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:135

How to cite this URL:
Mallik S, Singh SR, Sahoo J, Mohanty MK. Mosquito net: An underrecognized protection measure against snakebites. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 16];7:135. Available from: http://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2016/7/1/135/197686

Dear editor,

Snakes and few arthropods bring out fear among humans as they pose threat to life. Fear for snakes is expected as worldwide snakebite causes 125,000 deaths every year. Among all the countries affected, India alone contributes to 40% of global burden of snakebite deaths. Since young adults were mostly affected, estimated disability-adjusted life years were two million and also reflected in an economic burden on families. [1] Countries affected by snakebite also have a higher incidence of mosquito-borne diseases which shows an epidemiological overlap between snakes and mosquitoes. At risk population for both, the deadly bites are the rural people of low socioeconomic status who spent their nights at home sleeping on floor. [2]

We encountered a case where two sisters were saved from a possible cobra (Naja naja) bite after it fell from the roof in midnight onto the mosquito net, in which the girls were sleeping. Later, the snake was rescued by a snake rescuer [Figure 1]a. Besides this, on numerous occasions, the first author had himself rescued snakes from roof/ceilings [Figure 1]b. Snakes are frequent visitors of the households for shelter and in search of their prey. It is an observation of the authors that well-tucked mosquito nets can not only protect individuals from mosquitoes, ground crawling insects, and snakes but also from accidental fall of snakes from top. A study in Nepal confirms such mechanical protective nature of mosquito net against snakebite. [3]

Although mosquito nets are well-established public health measure against mosquito-borne diseases, they have poor acceptance in community. Such behavior is an attitudinal issues incorporated at individual or family level. [4] Creating public awareness about dual protective effect of mosquito nets will help in changing such behavior. Apart from mosquito and snakebite, nets can protect from deadly bites of other crawling creatures. Using such inherent fear from snakes/arthropods in promotion of mosquito nets may have a greater impact in increasing actual usage of mosquito nets. Few researchers have different opinions on inclusion of fear factor in health promotion, but there is a strong evidence that fear can be effective in behavioral change if such change leads to a reduction in level of fear. [5]
Figure 1: (a) A common cobra rescued from the top of mosquito net. (b) First author rescuing another Naja naja from thatched roof (photograph by authors)

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Financial support and sponsorship

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Rabies and Envenomings: A Neglected Public Health Issue: Report of a Consultative Meeting. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Kularatne SA. Common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) bite in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: A prospective clinical study, 1996-98. Postgrad Med J 2002;78:276-80.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Chappuis F, Sharma SK, Jha N, Loutan L, Bovier PA. Protection against snake bites by sleeping under a bed net in Southeastern Nepal. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2007;77:197-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Pulford J, Hetzel MW, Bryant M, Siba PM, Mueller I. Reported reasons for not using a mosquito net when one is available: A review of the published literature. Malar J 2011;10:83.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Soames Job RF. Effective and ineffective use of fear in health promotion campaigns. Am J Public Health 1988;78:163-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    


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