Hissstory: how the science of snake bite treatments has changed
8 February 2017
Summer is traditionally Australia's snake bite season, when both snakes and people become more active. The human death toll is now admirably low, but it wasn't always so.
Although colonial statistics are highly unreliable, in 1882-1892 about 11 people died from snake bites across Australia a year. Since then, the continent's population has grown from 2.2 million to 24.3 million, yet on average just two people died from snake bites a year in 2001-2013. While improved transport, communications and ambulance services have all contributed, so have the first aid and medical measures used to counteract snake venom.