Snakebites are ‘neglected’ health crisis in Africa

Snakebites are ‘neglected’ health crisis in Africa
Simon Isolomo woke at around 5 a.m., said goodbye to his wife and seven children, and hopped into his dugout canoe. That day, a Tuesday in December 2018, had begun like many others in Isolomo’s 30 years of fishing in the province of Équateur, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Paddling on the Likelemba River toward his fishing camp with a couple of friends, Isolomo, 52, snacked on kwanga, a popular manioc dish, and enjoyed the cool morning air.After three hours, they arrived at the camp, and Isolomo began checking his fishing lines. Feeling resistance on one, he thrust his hand into the murky water. A sharp pain sent him reeling. Blood oozed from two puncture wounds. Just below the surface, a yellowish snake with black rings slithered from view.With Isolomo lying in the dugout, his companions paddled frantically back to their village of Iteli. By then, he was slipping in and out of consciousness. His wife, Marie, joined the group, and they set out immediately for the hospital in Mbandaka, the provincial capital. But before they arrived, Isolomo stopped breathing and died.