September 27, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

A snake in the school of Thessaloniki: is it really an isolated case, and why did the emergency happen

How a snake was found in a school in Thessaloniki – the facts are substantiated by a herpetologist, candidate of biological sciences at AUTH Ilias Strahinis.

The snake from the hole, both literally and figuratively, must be pulled out by wildlife conservation volunteers. However, they are often under-equipped, poorly trained and unable to respond to calls for the removal of the snake. So, in fact, it happened last Friday, when a snake was discovered in one of the schools of Thessaloniki, speaks Mr. Strahinis:

“In Thessaloniki alone, we receive between 40 and 80 requests for snake removal every year. And think how many others don’t even call because they might just kill the snake instead. That is why there is a need to create an integrated herpetological center for education, information, research links, as well as for the work of a specialized initiative group that will be called upon to collect snakes.”

The herpetologist says that he has already submitted such a proposal to the authorities, but so far its implementation has not progressed at all. Promotion should include the creation of objects, the study of the composition of snake venoms and other important components. No less important, he considers communication between doctors and herpetologists in such cases:

“Herpetologists can identify the species that have bitten the victim and know what the effect of the injected venom is. Therefore, it is extremely important to establish channels of communication with the medical community to resolve such incidents.”

According to the biologist, the antibiotic serum currently used in hospitals acts with a delay compared to the previously available type, since it is indicated to be administered only intramuscularly, and not intravenously, which would be more time-efficient:

“Citizens, for their part, should be trained in first aid, especially in cases such as anaphylaxis, which affected a woman who was asked to remove a snake from a school. We must learn to recognize the signs of anaphylactic shock and have appropriate life-saving injections in such cases in our portable pharmacies. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction, a very dangerous and urgent condition. This can be caused not only by poisons, but also by any substance to which a person is allergic, even food. It is useful for all of us that our doctor informs us about the types and the correct use of the appropriate drugs in such a case.

Commenting incident at the school of Thessaloniki and the condition of a volunteer, bitten by a viper and in critical condition in the hospital, he called it an isolated case and advised teachers and parents of students to remain calm:

“It would be nice to mow all the grass that the school has and, if the educational community wants, call me later to do an autopsy on the site and suggest some things if necessary. However, the snake in question, which was quite large, was probably brought to the scene passively, under a car, as has happened several times already.”

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