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Between 1998 and 2007, 42 patients admitted to Choray hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, and to two hospitals in adjacent regions in southern Viet Nam brought the Malayan kraits (Bungarus candidus) that had been responsible for biting them. Half of the patients had been bitten while they were asleep. Fang marks and numbness were the only local features of the bites. Common signs of neurotoxic envenoming included bilateral ptosis, persistently dilated pupils, limb weakness, breathlessness, hypersalivation, dysphonia and dysphagia. Thirty patients (71.4%) required endotracheal intubation of whom all but one were mechanically ventilated. Fourteen patients (33.3%) developed hypertension, 13 (31.0%) shock, 31 (73.8%) hyponatraemia (plasma sodium concentration < 130 mEq/l) and 30 (71.4%) showed evidence of mild rhabdomyolysis (peak plasma creatine kinase concentration 1375 +/- 140 micro/l). None developed acute kidney injury. All the patients were treated with a new monospecific B. candidus antivenom. There were no fatalities. Hyponatraemia has been reported previously in victims of Chinese kraits (Bungarus multicinctus) in northern Viet Nam and rhabdomyolysis in patients envenomed by B. niger in Bangladesh. These features of envenoming pose new problems for the management of krait bite cases in South east Asia and should stimulate a search for the causative venom toxins.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1070 - 1075


Adult, Animals, Antivenins, Blood Pressure, Bungarotoxins, Bungarus, Female, Humans, Hyponatremia, Male, Mydriasis, Palliative Care, Rhabdomyolysis, Snake Bites, Treatment Outcome, Vietnam