Each summer season corresponds to a period when snake bites and various reptiles as well as other scorpion bites and poisonous insects are frequent. In Morocco, the inhabitants of the regions most affected by this phenomenon are on the alert.
This feeling is particularly felt in the south-eastern areas of Morocco, those remote and mountainous as well as customary regions of cases of envenomation by scorpion stings and snake bites are Marrakech-Safi, the region of Souss-Massa, Beni Mellal-Khénifra, the region of Drâa-Tafilalet, Fez-Meknes, Casablanca-Settat, the region of El Jadida and the provinces of Errachidia, Tangier, Ouarzazate and Zagora, which are currently recording very high temperatures.
This has also prompted the local authorities and populations of these regions to request the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and in particular the Poison Control and Pharmacovigilance Center to implement a strategy to combat this dangerous and sometimes fatal phenomenon. for citizens’ health, as well as supplying their centers with antidote kits.
It is known that with heat waves reptiles, especially poisonous snakes and scorpions, leave their nests in search of cool places, hence the invasion of dwellings in rural areas. The Drâa-Tafilalet region is no exception and on a daily basis, citizens are exposed to snake bites and scorpion stings. This results in serious cases and even deaths and often many victims are forced to travel to remote hospital areas to receive necessary care.
Jamal Hakioui, an activist from the Zagora region, confirmed to MoroccoLatestNews that “thehe danger of stings and bites from scorpions and reptiles has become an obsession for the inhabitants of the south-east (the provinces of the Drâa-Tafilalet region), “given the seriousness that their venom can cause as well as the distance from hospitals where antidotes are available“. Hakioui added, that “the guardianship should equip all health institutions, including village health centers, with antidote kits”.
On the other hand, Saida Ghafiri, a resident of Errachidia province, said “poisonous reptiles that swarm in the Drâa-Tafilalet areas during the summer must encourage the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the rest of the actors concerned to move in order to equip health establishments and provide them with all the necessary to combat this scourge”. The citizen confirmed to MoroccoLatestNews that “ most health facilities have complained in recent years about the lack of these antidotes, which has caused the death of young children.”
In a comment in this regard, Mohammed Khassal, regional director of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in the Drâa-Tafilalet region, indicated that he visited the health establishments in the region and ensured their availability in terms of equipment, medicines, etc., emphasizing that ” all medicines are available at health facilities, including vaccines against scorpion and snake poisons“.
The regional manager, wishing to reassure, in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews, the inhabitants of the Drâa-Tafilalet region about vaccines, specified: “ that they were currently available in the regional hospitals which have a doctor specialized in resuscitation, adding: that “There is a new stock and a large quantity of these vaccines whose reception will take place next week which will then be distributed to the regional offices“.
Mohammed Khassal explained that “ these vaccines will be placed in regional hospitals, which have a resuscitation service, as well as a specialist in resuscitation medicine “. However, he called on citizens to be cautious and vigilant. Salvation against poisonous bites and stings consists in reaching the emergency room or a health center as quickly as possible. Children are the most vulnerable. The evolution in the event of a bite towards death in children under 15 years of age is higher than in adults.
In Morocco, these bites and stings have serious consequences for the health of citizens despite scientific and medical progress. A CAPM report notes that scorpion stings and bugloss bites are the leading causes of envenomation. Roughly, and more banally, the three types of snakes living in Morocco are cobras, vipers and snakes.
That said, these venomous species (snakes and scorpions) have an irreplaceable role in the ecosystem where they evolve in the same way as others that are just as venomous but appreciated by humans, such as bees, for example. Snakes never attack deliberately, and rather tend to flee from humans who are seen as predators. The main measures to protect against possible bites are not to disturb them.