In Stories

Case of the Wall’s Sindh Krait bite

Koushik Barui

Victim’s background

Koushik Barui is a 25 year old resident of Gairkata (district Jalpaiguri, West Bengal). He is a student of MA Part 2. His father has a cloth shop and his mother is a home maker. He has 2 sisters , both are married. Koushik is a member of an NGO named Gairkata Aranyak, . He has been a snake rescuer since the last 4 years and was bitten earlier by a rat snake.

Bite Incident: On 13th Sept 2012, Koushik got a call at around 6pm in the evening from a shop keeper informing him that there was a large snake on the road outside their shop. On arriving at the spot he saw that the snake had crossed the road and was in a dry nullah. Koushik wanted to leave it alone but the shop keeper insisted that they bag and relocate the snake. By this time some others had arrived with sticks to kill the reptile and Koushik decided to bag it. It was getting dark. There was a slight injury near the tail of the snake. No sooner had he caught the snake’s tail and lifted its body with the tong , the snake lunged backwards and bit his left hand. Koushik bagged the snake thinking it was a non-venomous rat snake. It was 6.30pm.

bite mark

When he arrived at the Forest Department (FD) office with the snake, the members of Gairkata Aranyak identified the snake as Common Krait. It was a healthy, massive sized snake. As it was injured it was kept for treatment by the local vets.

The local tea garden hospital provided 10 vials of anti-venom that was stocked with them. Koushik was rushed to Birpara hospital about 12 kms from Gairkata where the 10 vials of anti-venom were administered. He was then shifted to the better equipped Jalpaiguri District hospital, 62 kms from Birpara. Koushik began to vomit on the way and had problems with his vision. His throat felt extremely dry and breathing was getting laboured with each passing minute.

There was no ICU bed available at the Jalpaiguri district hospital and the doctors managed to secure a bed in Marina Nursing Home – a private hospital which was close by. Koushik was finally admitted in Marina Nursing home at 8.45pm, 2.15 hours after the bite incident. Later that evening Koushik slipped into a coma and his condition remained unchanged for the next 3 days.

In the meantime the members of Gairkata Aranyak had a shocking revelation. The rescued snake was a Wall’s Sindh Krait. Until then, no one was aware that the region had Wall’s Sindh Krait in its distribution.

Koushik was administered a total of 33 vials of anti-venom and after a slow recovery, he was shifted to the general ward and stayed at the hospital for one week. He was under the treatment of Dr Kumar Atanu and the cost of treatment was borne by Gairkata Aranyak (NGO). A total of Rs 80,000 was spent on his treatment.

Meanwhile the snake’s injury was treated by local vets and it was released near a tea garden on the outskirts of Gairkata after it had recovered fully.

walls sindh krait

After being discharged from hospital, Koushik was still weak and didn’t regain his sense of taste for the next 2 months. His left hand felt numb accompanied by pain near the ring finger (the area where he was bitten). It is almost 3 years since the bite incident and he still experiences pain in his left hand at least once a week. On regular intervals tiny boils erupt between the middle finger and the ring finger with oozing fluid accompanied by itching. A skin ointment has been prescribed by the doctor to keep the skin condition under control.

This incident could have been avoided if care was taken to ID the snake before rescuing it. Koushik admits it was his own folly that put his life in grave danger. He is now more cautious while on rescue calls. The area around Jalpaiguri has a healthy sighting of Wall’s Sindh Krait. Koushik has rescued 8 Wall’s Sindh Krait last year (2014) along with other venomous & non-venomous snakes.

Written by Priyanka Kadam (as narrated by the victim).

7 Comments

  • Siddhesh Uday Sapre
    May 05, 2015 at 07:17 am

    Respected madam,
    Found this story very informative, stating more about the rescuer’s overconfidence, which led to the above stated mishap. This is a very good example for all snake rescuers who should definitely read this , and each time think twice before touching the snake while rescuing (or bag/ bottle it only after confirmed ID). One doubt that I have though, in this story, is that which ASVS was administered, because as far as I know (since I am working on Common Krait Venom), the Wall’s Sind Krait venom CANNOT be neutralised by the polyvalent ASVS for the Big 4 produced in India either by the Haffkine / Bharat Serum/ milked by the Irula Co.Op.. The Antibodies against the Common Krait Venom are inefficient in neutralising the Wall’s Sind Krait venom.
    Sharing a story from youtube, which I had watched regarding a Coomon Krait bite in India too (in 1993) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPQm7tUg5Dc.
    And with regards to the inefficiency of the polyvalent ASVS against the Wall’s Sind Krait, it is stated in the following OFFICIAL ducument: http://www.scribd.com/doc/22703884/HANDBOOK-ON-TREATMENT-GUIDELINES-FOR-SNAKE-BITE-AND-SCORPION-STING-2008-TNHSP-PUBLICATION#scribd
    This story is indeed true and I DO NOT DOUBT it. However, would like to know more on how the patient was treated in detail.
    Thanks
    Yours sincerely,
    Siddhesh U. Sapre

    • Priyanka Kadam
      May 05, 2015 at 05:06 pm

      Dear Siddhesh,
      Thanks for your response. Regarding Wall’s Sindh Bites, since it is not amongst the big 4, the complications in cases of envenomination is severe. A few doctors from Pune who have treated Wall’s Sindh Krait victims have shared that the ASV does not work effectively. In my opinion, complications from a venomous snake bite depends on a number of factors like first aid during the golden hour, The patient’s own physiological condition, age of the patient, whether the snake was one of the big four (Sp cobra, C. Krait, Russell’s viper or Saw scaled viper) or it belongs to the other highly venomous categories like King Cobra, Hump Nosed pit viper, Wall’s Sindh Krait, Black Krait, Lesser Black Krait, Banded Krait, Monocled Cobra, Horse show pit viper, Himalayan Pit viper etc. Since there could be a combination of factors involved in a snakebite situation, it is difficult to predict what the actual cause of death or reason of deterioration of the condition of the victim could be.

      • Siddhesh Uday Sapre
        May 05, 2015 at 06:41 pm

        Respected Madam,
        Thank you very much for the prompt reply and valuable information.
        Yours sincerely,
        Siddhesh U. Sapre

  • Abhishek Chhetri
    May 05, 2015 at 02:22 pm

    Yeah….I also remember the incident. … kaushik da was very lucky….and the good thing is…he survived…. good luck!!

  • ganesh roy
    May 05, 2015 at 05:40 pm

    many many thanks medam ..
    koushik is my frnd
    he is very lucky ….

  • Rajendra Godbole
    Nov 22, 2017 at 05:24 am

    Respected mam,
    I am also snake rescuer from 6 years.
    I am from Maharashtra state, Beed District. In our area common crait and cobras found very easily that is rural and jungle area so various types of reptiles found.
    Your article of sindh crait is very informative to all who are survived the snake bite and rescuer who get more knowledge about it and care.
    We have get care while rescuing any kind of snake. Very helpful report you have written.

    Thanks for writing ver helpful report/ article.

  • VAIBHAV SUNERI
    Jun 03, 2018 at 05:35 am

    Dear Siddhesh ,
    Thanks for sharing the youtube vedio. it completely explains the symtops of krait bite and how the its venom acts. i think this documenty alone can help a doctor to treat krait bite.
    thanks a lot.
    With Regards
    Vaibhav

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