The WHO estimates that snakes bite about 5.4 million people every year, and poison 2.7 million of them. Up to 140,000 of the victims die as a result of snakebites, about three times as many are injured.
Snakebites can cause bleeding and paralysis, obstruct breathing, tissue damage, kidney failure, permanent disability and limb amputation. This is often compounded by stigmatisation, social exclusion and subsequent mental illness.
People in rural regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America are most affected. Children often suffer more severe effects than adults due to their smaller body mass.