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Press Releases > ACMT Recommends Steps to Plan for and Prevent Venomous Animal Exposures - November 27, 2012

ACMT Recommends Steps to Plan for and Prevent Venomous Animal Exposures - November 27, 2012

posted on 6:01 AM, June 25, 2014
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The American College of Medical Toxicology has released a position statement that provides
recommendations to institutions that house venomous animals for prevention and planning for
human envenomations.
Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) November 27, 2012 -- All institutions that are involved in the storage, handling or
transportation of venomous animals should have an action plan in place for handling bites, stings, or other
venomous exposures to humans. The American College of Medical Toxicology(ACMT) has published a
position statement providing recommendations for prevention of human envenomation exposures and for
obtaining rapid treatment should an exposure occur.
 
Most physicians in the United States are unfamiliar with the management of envenomationsby snakes,
scorpions, and other venomous creatures, especially if the species responsible are non-native, or ‘exotic.’
Antivenoms for the treatment of envenomations by exotic venomous animals are not routinely stored in hospital
pharmacies, yet bites by non-native venomous snakes are reported to poison control centers each year. As a
result, timely treatment of these patients is often delayed as health care providers search nationally for a specific
antivenom that, when located, must be transported to the victim. This delay may result in a worse outcome for
the patient. Advance planning for envenomations would facilitate rapid treatment and be expected to improve
patient outcomes.
 
Institutions that house venomous animals must assure that the likelihood of human exposure is minimized and
should make sure that there is a written response plan for an envenomation. Preparation includes obtaining the
appropriate antivenom for the species being housed and handled. Antivenom for non-native species may be
particularly difficult to acquire and if manufactured abroad may require special clearances for use. Protocols
should be in place for storage of antivenom at the institution or at the facility that will receive patients. Policies
and procedures for providing first aid and ongoing management of victims should be developed in consultation
with medical toxicologists, who have expertise in the management of envenomations and poisonings. Written
agreements and guidelines, as appropriate, with consulting medical toxicologists, regional poison centers,
emergency medical transport agencies, and receiving healthcare facilities should be developed so that first aid,
transport, and management may be rapidly implemented.
 
The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) is a professional, nonprofit association of physicians
with recognized expertise in medical toxicology. The College is dedicated to advancing the science and practice
of medical toxicology.