"We've treated a lot of snakebites and it is still early in the season," said Dr. Sean Bush, Staff Emergency Physician & Envenomation Specialist, Loma Linda University Medical Center. "Depending on where you are in the U.S., warm weather patterns mean more snakes are out in search of food and water. Also, many of our housing developments coincide with snake habitats, and excursions into snake territory mean more people are at risk for snakebite." Roughly 8,000 venomous snakebites occur in the U.S. each year. About a dozen fatalities are reported annually.

Altana Inc., a member of the Nycomed group, announces the start of the summer season with a warning that the 2007 snakebite season is already a busy one. The frequency of snakebites increases during the summer holidays because that is the time that snakes and people are most active. The number of bites in any given season depends on a variety of factors including geography, rainfall and temperature. Many experts believe that increasing development (for living and recreation) into natural snake habitats is a significant factor in the increased number of bites.

Recent media reports across the U.S. indicate an increase in the frequency of reported snake activity. The Scottsdale, Arizona Fire Department has reported 411 snake removal calls since April 1, up from the 353 calls fielded last spring during the same timeframe. Professional snake wrangler Bo Slyapich in Los Angeles has logged three times the usual number of emergency calls so far this season.

"With the increase in reported snake activity and the advent of warmer climatic conditions, we may be witnessing the start of a very busy snakebite season. We have worked very hard as an organization to help ensure hospitals are stocked with adequate supplies of antivenom," said Jackie Beltrani, Director of Institutional Sales and Specialty Marketing for Fougera. "We are confident that in partnership with the poison control centers we will be able to meet the challenges of the 2007 snakebite season."

CroFab(r) Crotalidae Polyvalent Immune Fab (Ovine) is the only widely available antivenom for North American crotalid snakebite envenomations in the United States. Approximately 7,000 to 8,000 of the estimated 45,000 snakebites seen each year in the United States involve a venomous species. Snakebite season begins in mid-March and runs through the fall, the time of year when snakes are most active and people are most likely to encounter them. When a snakebite victim enters a hospital and requires treatment with antivenom, delaying care can be dangerous. Hospitals should have adequate stocks of antivenom to prevent treatment delays, even if they expect to see just one snakebite patient this year.