15 Comments
Apr 12, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

Most interesting article I've read this month. Is the lower p(death|snakebite) in Australia simply due to greater access to antivenom meds? Are the numbers for Australia adjusted for underreporting like the #s for India?

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Apr 12, 2023·edited Apr 12, 2023Author

Thank you! The cases aren't adjusted for underreporting unfortunately, so they're also not highly confident. But both of the death estimates are fairly confident.

There are about 500-600 people hospitalised for snakebites per year nationally (https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/2a017461-459d-43b2-b00e-4ddb0f1167e3/injcat110.pdf & https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imj.13297) and states like Queensland report about 800 ambulance calls for snakebites each year.

I think it's partly due to which species people more commonly come across, diagnostic kits to detect which species the bite is from, access to hospitals & the availability of antivenom, and that it's covered by national health insurance – there's a pop piece about it here (https://theconversation.com/7-reasons-australia-is-the-lucky-country-when-it-comes-to-snakes-175188).

(I've also included the death rate per 100,000 people in both countries in footnote 1)

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Apr 11, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

Really interesting article. Thank you so much saloni. My family lives in an area outside Bangalore very close to agricultural fields and often spot snakes, cobras especially.

Often wondered about the statistics around snakebites. Learnt a lot from your post

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Jul 19, 2023·edited Jul 19, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

Since you asked...

"In Australia, it’s 0.13, about thirty-eight times lower."

There is no metric for lowness. The figure for India is 38 times the number for Australia. The number for Australia is 1/38 of India's.

One can measure "high", using, e.g., ground level, or zero on the vertical scale. But what is the baseline for low?

(NB: This quibble in no way detracts from the overall excellence of the article.)

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Jul 19, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

This quibble in no way detracts from the overall excellence of the article.

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Apr 13, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

Thank you for this - I once saw a graphic medical picture of an unfortunate Indian farmer who'd been relieving himself when he was bitten and that's why I clicked on your article - you made the numbers easier to think about and you write so well I didn't go looking for that gruesome pic instead.

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Ahh that's very unfortunate. At university we'd often be shown images of the diseases were learning about and while that made them memorable, they were also uncomfortable. I'm really glad to hear that you found it easier to understand, thank you!

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Apr 13, 2023Liked by Saloni Dattani

No need to apologize for infrequent content when the articles you do publish are so good!

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thank you for saying that :) I'm glad you enjoy them!

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Very interesting.

What are ways that we can help with the lack of data worldwide?

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Thank you! :)

I recently did a talk on this topic and here were some ideas I shared:

People who are data communicators should think about and emphasize data quality alongside numbers because it affects how we interpret them, like having units on a chart.

People who are researchers can highlight missing data, uncertainty, and gaps in knowledge in their field. They can also deliberately study under-represented populations, like in the example I gave in this post.

And countries should invest in labour, technology, institutions & health infrastructure to collect & share data regularly, in the long-term.

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Really enjoyed reading this one

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absolutely amazing work on this one Saloni!

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Ahh thank you Joey, that's very kind! :)

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Excellent article, but I have one question (and I'm Australian, so it's relevant).

The headline number of 2 snakebite deaths per year in Australia certainly captures the imagination, but the world map at the end states an estimated 200 - 520 deaths in Oceania. Are NZ and PNG overly prone to snakebite deaths or is the map over a longer period or how do you explain the discrepancy?

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