Current CETH projects focus on understanding the social and environmental inequities that cause the unequal burden of snakebite worldwide. CETH staff seek to understand and create solutions to public health threats caused by inequity, investigating systems and institutions that expand beyond healthcare. In the past, CETH staff have published papers on a variety of topics, such as common desert illnesses and CT scan techniques for dinosaur eggs.
CETH Snakebite Project
Snakebite is arguably the most neglected of neglected tropical diseases. It is a disease of poverty with numbers of fatalities comparable to that of AIDS in some developing countries. Predominantly killing young and otherwise healthy individuals, neurotoxins paralyze their victims --resulting in death by respiratory failure. Most of these victims would likely survive with early access to emergency care. There is currently little funding to devise new approaches to address this problem, but with a volunteer, collaborative effort with colleagues at UCSF we have made the first inroad to solving a part of this ancient scourge and persistent modern tragedy.
Anticholinesterases are a group of commonly used, heat stable and inexpensive drugs that have been used for decades to reverse chemically- induced paralysis in operating rooms and, in intravenous form, to treat snakebite when antivenoms are not available or not effective. They have also been used with experimental success in animal models. We argue that developing inexpensive, heat-stable, easy-to-administer anti-paralytics could facilitate early treatment of snakebite and save lives. We recently made the first successful attempt to create a human model for neurotoxic paralysis specifically designed to test whether anticholinesterases can reverse paralysis caused by a drug that mimics neurotoxic snakebite paralysis. Our finding suggests a novel strategy for field treatment that could substantially decrease the worldwide burden of neurotoxic envenomation.
Climate, Weather, and Snakebite
Though it is generally accepted that snakebites are seasonal, a detailed study of the timing and incidence of snakebite as a function of specific regional weather patterns has yet to be completed. We seek to understand the patterns of snakebite as they relate to weather and climate by following hundreds of cases from initial bite to hospital treatment in India, Nepal, Costa Rica, California, and anywhere these data become available.
Snake Bite Treatment Research
Nasal Spray Treatment for Snakebites
Neglected Tropical Disease: Noma
Noma: A Case of Necrotizing Stomatitis
Illness and Injury During Travel to Arid Environments