Envenomation by the great lakes bush viper (Atheris nitschei)

Benjamin W. Hatten, Antonio Bueso, Loren French, Robert G. Hendrickson, B. Zane Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Introduction. We present a case of envenomation by a Great Lakes Bush Viper, Atheris nitschei. Atheris species are a group of snakes that are indigenous to the forested areas of Central Africa. Prior reports of envenomation by Great Lakes Bush Vipers were not found in a Medline search. However, reports of other Atheris species envenomations describe coagulopathy and acute renal failure. Case details. A 30-year-old male was bitten by a Great Lakes Bush Viper on his left hand. His left upper extremity was edematous with ecchymoses in the left axilla. There was bleeding from the bite site and from the patient's oral mucosa. Initial laboratory studies demonstrated significant derangement of hematologic parameters including anemia, thrombocytopenia, coagulopathy, and hypofibrinoginemia. There is no antivenom for this species. The patient was treated with blood products. Mucosal bleeding ceased within 12 h of admission. Discussion. Atheris nitschei is an African snake with no available antivenom. In this case, the patient developed coagulopathy with hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and low fibrinogen. Renal function remained unaffected. Despite the lack of specific antivenom or the use of plasmapheresis, our patient was successfully treated with transfusion of multiple blood products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-116
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Blood
  • Coagulation disorders
  • Snake bites
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Viper venom
  • Viperidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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