The diversity of the biotopes in Guinea due mainly to the diversity of vegetation (savannah, forest, mangrove) and altitudes (coastal zone, mountains of Fouta-Djalon and mountain of High Guinea), induces a wide variety of the herpetological fauna.
Envenomations are consequently a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in a country where agriculture is an important economic activity. Unfortunately, precise statistics for envenomations are unavailable. A retrospective study was performed based on IRBAG registers (1980-1990). A total of 584 snakebites were reported with a 2.2% case fatality rate.
Between 1997 and 1999, 379 cases of snakebites were reported with 18.2% death, mainly due to the lack of antivenom, and 2.1% amputations.
By combining the fang marks and victim or relative assessments, we were able to identify most of the snakes involved in the envenomations: Naja (21.3%), Bitis (15%), Dendroaspis (12.4%) and Causus (12.9%). In 38.2% of the cases, the snake was not identified.
This survey confirmed that envenomations are a problem in Guinea. However, more studies are necessary to appreciate the real importance of the herpetological Guinean fauna and its consequences on morbidity and mortality in order to improve the management of envenomations.