International Society on Toxinology - Global Snakebite Initiative
The International Society on Toxinology was founded
in 1962 by a group on scientists and clinicians interested in advancing
the science of toxinology. In 2008 the IST and it's members have the chance to make a major contribution, as an organisation, to clinical toxinology, specifically the plight of the millions of people every year who are envenomed by snakes, scorpions, spiders, marine animals and other venomous fauna, or who are poisoned by poisonous fauna or flora.
Global Snakebite Initiative
This important project is the first major undertaking resulting from the Global Issues in Clinical Toxinology Conference, held in Melbourne, Australia, November 2008. At this meeting, attended by stakeholders from all continents (except Antarctica), a steering committee was formed to move towards solutions for envenomed patients Worldwide. It was considered by this meeting, attended by some senior IST members, that this process would best be promoted by close association with the IST, as a project under the IST banner. At the Asia-Pacific Section Congress in Vietnam in December 2008, a proposal was made by Prof. David Warrell, seconded by Prof. P Gopalakrishnakone (IST President), that "The Global Snakebite Initiative be formally endorsed as an official initiative of the IST." This was passed unanimously and confirmed unanimously at the IST World Congress in Recife, Brazil, March 2009. This important initiative is now officially a project of the IST. The Steering Committee, which contains a number of IST members, will produce a work plan and timeline to present to all IST members. A new website to promote the Initiative has been established at www.snakebiteinitiative.org and IST members are urged to visit and bookmark this site, which hopefully will become a significant portal for this whole Initiative. The World Health Organisation has now added snakebite to their list of Neglected Tropical Diseases. This is a major step forwards and will open up funding sources for projects to help reduce the global snakebite burden. The IST, through the Global Snakebite Initiative, intends to play a pivotal role in this process.
Global Snakebite Statistics
Recent research by Kasturiaratne et al, published in PLoS, has redefined global estimates of snakebite epidemiology. However, this is, to some extent, a "work in progress". One of the authors, Prof. Janaka de Silva (Sri Lanka) has kindly made available some of the data tables on which the study conclusions were based, with a "challenge" to IST members (and others) to provide more definitive data for each listed country. These tables will be listed on a separate page structure for this website. All interested members are urged to peruse this information and contact Prof. de Silva if they have additional data that might be used to update the tables. This work may be considered as one section of the Global Snakebite Initiative.
The issue of specialist-level training for medical doctors, in the field of clinical toxinology, and credentialling of such training, was canvassed at the Global Issues in Clinical Toxinology Conference and again, through presentations, at the Asia-Pacific Section Congress in Vietnam. As a result a proposal was put by Prof. Julian White, seconded by Prof. Dietrich Mebs, that "The Asia-Pacific Section of the IST supports the development of a clinical toxinology initiative by the IST."This was passed unanimously and confirmed unanimously at the IST World Congress in Recife, Brazil, March 2009. This important initiative is now officially a project of the IST. A Steering Committee will be established and a report to IST members. The IST will now work towards establishing clinical toxinology as an accredited and recognised medical specialty.