Snakebite envenoming is one of the most neglected diseases, particularly in low- and middle-income countries with tropical climate and a rich snake fauna, such as Lao PDR, Vietnam and Ghana. Worldwide snakebite envenoming affects as many as 2.7 million people every year with an annual mortality of 81,000 to 138,000. Many surviving victims suffer permanent disability which significantly affects their working ability.

In June 2017 the World Health Organization added snakebite envenoming to their list of neglected tropical diseases and in May 2018 the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted a resolution, which urges member states (i) to assess the burden of snakebites, (ii) promote community awareness of snakebite envenoming in support of early treatment and prevention, (iii) to provide training to relevant health workers on diagnosis and management of snakebite envenoming, (iv) improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of antivenoms to population at risk, and (v) intensify and support research on snakebite envenoming. These interventions are supposed to reduce snakebite mortality and disability by 50% until 2030.

The main objectives of the working group “snakebite envenoming, surveillance and control” are studies on epidemiology of snakebites and venomous snakes in different geographic regions in the target countries, availability of appropriate and effective antivenom, training of healthcare personnel in management of snakebites, and development of national guidelines.

Research Projects

1. Project Laos (ongoing)


  • Epidemiology of snakebites and venomous snakes in different geographic regions.  
  • Training of health personnel in management of snakebite envenoming.
  • Development of national guidelines in management of snakebite envenoming.
  • Registration of Thai snake antivenom products at the Lao Ministry of Health.
  • Distribution of snake antivenom to provincial and district hospitals.
  • Implementation of a consultation service for snakebite envenoming.

2. Project Vietnam (ongoing)


  • Epidemiology of snakebites and venomous snakes in different geographic regions.
  • Training of health personnel in management of snakebite envenoming.
  • Development of national guidelines in management of snakebite envenoming.
  • Support to extend antivenom production in Vietnam

3. Project Ghana (in progress)


  1. University of Health Science, Vientiane, Lao PDR
  2. Setthatirath Hospital, Vientiane, Lao PDR
  3. Institute for Community Health Research (ICHR) Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue, Vietnam
  4. Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research, Kumasi, Ghana


Jonathan Steinhorst,,Leslie Mawuli Aglanu, Sofanne J. Ravensbergen, Chrisantus Danaah Dari,,Kabiru Mohammed Abass, Samuel Osei Mireku, Joseph Ken Adu,Poku, Yeetey A. K. Enuameh, Joerg Blessmann, Robert A. Harrison, John H. Amuasi, Ymkje Stienstra. “The medicine is not for sale”: Practices of traditional healers in snakebite envenoming in Ghana PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease 15(4), April 2021 doi: 101371/journal.pntd.0009298

Simone Kann, Joerg Blessmann, Yvonne Winkelmann, Jessica Hansen,Leonardo j. Maya Amaya, Gadith E. Rivera Salcedo, Hussein El Halas, Jonas Schmidt- Chanasit, Latdamone Keovienglhone, Vatsana Sopraseuth, Christina Deschermyer, Angela Mika. Dengue Virus detection in Lao PDR and Columbia: comparative evaluation of PCR tests. Tropical Medicine & International Health, August 2021, doi: 10.1111/tmi.13670


Vo Van Thang, Truong Quy Quoc Bao, Hoang Dinh Tuyen, Ralf Krumkamp, Le Hoang Hai, Nguyen Hai Dang, Cao Minh Chu, Joerg Blessmann. (2020) Incidence of snakebites in Can Tho Municipality, Mekong Delta, South Vietnam – Evaluation of the responsible snake species and treatment of snakebite envenoming. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 14(6): e0008430

Ehmen C, Medialdea-Carrera R, Brown D, Bispo de Filippis AM, Carvalho de Sequeira P, Ribeiro Nogueira RM, Brasil P, Calvet GA, Blessmann J, Mallmann AM, Sievertson J, Rackow A, Schmidt Chanasit J, Emmerich P, Schmitz H, Deschermeier C, Mika A (2020) Accurate detection of Zika virus IgG using a novel immune complex binding ELISA. Tropical Medicine and International Health. doi:101111/tmi.13505

Joerg Blessmann, Yvonne Winkelmann, Latdamone Keoviengkhone, Vatsana Sopraseuth, Simmone Kann, Jessica Hansen, Hussein El Halas, Petra Emmerich, Jonas Schmidt Chanasit, Herbert Schmitz, Angela Mika, Christina Deschermeier. (2020) Assessement of diagnostic and analytic performance of SD Bioline Dengue Duo test for Dengue virus infections in an endemic area (Savannakhet province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic) PLoS One 15(3) e0230337.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230337

Joerg Blessmann, Soulaphab Hanlodsomphou, Bounlom Santisouk, Khamla Choumlivong, Somphet Soukhaphouvong, Phankham Chantilat, Knut Brockow, Tilo Biedermann (2020) Serum IgE against galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose is common in Laotian patients with snakebite envenoming but not the major trigger for early anaphylactic reactions to antivenom. Toxicon X, doi.org/10.1016/j.toxcx.2020.100054


Joerg Blessmann, Inthanomchanh Vongphoumy, Nguyen Thanh Phuc Nhan, Bui Thi Phuong Anh, Nguyen Hoang Lan, Truong Quy QuocBao, Sulaphab Hanlodsomphou, Khamla Choumlivong, Phet Soukhaphouvong, Vo Van Thang (2019) Incidence of snakebites and medically relevamt snakes in different regions in Laos and Vietnam. Abstracts, Toxicon 159, S1-S32


Blessmann J, Nguyen Thanh Phuc Nhan, Bui Thi Phuong Anh, Krumkamp R, Vo Van Thang, Nguyen Hoang Lan. (2018) Incidence of snakebites in 3 different geographic regions in Thua Thien Hue province, central Vietnam: Green pit vipers and cobras cause the majority of bites. Toxicon 156, 61-65.


Inthanomchanh Vongphoumy, Joshua A. Reyer, Joerg Blessmann, Ketkesone Phrasisombath, Eiko Yamamoto, Nobuyuki Hamajima (2017) Assessment of knowledge about snakebite management amongst healthcare providers in the provincial and two district hospitals in Savannakhet province, Lao PDR. Nagoya J. Med. Sci. 79. 299-311.

Jörg Blessmann, Aktinomyzetom durch Nocardia aobensis: unerwartet guter Therapieerfolg nach kurzer Antibiotikatherapie. Flug-, Tropen- und Reisemedizin, 2017; 24: 112-114


Vongphoumy I, Chantilat P, Vilayvong P, Blessmann J, (2016) Prospective, consecutive case series of 158 snakebite patients treated at Savannakhet provincial hospital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic with high incidence of anaphylactic shock to horse-derived F(ab)2 antivenom. Toxicon. 117, 13-21.


Vongphoumy I, Phongmany P, Sydala S, Prasith N, Reintjes R, Blessmann J. (2015) Snakebites in two rural districts in Lao PDR: Community-based surveys disclose high incidence of an invisible public health problem. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(6) e0003887. Doi: 10.1371/journal pntd.0003887.

Vongphoumy I, Dance DAB, Dittrich S, Logan J, Davong V, Rattanavong S, Blessmann J, (2015) Case Report: Actinomycetoma caused by Nocardia aobensis from Lao PDR with favourable outcome after short term antibiotic treatment. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(4): e0003729. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003729


Bernin Hannah, Marggraff Claudia, Jacobs Thomas, Brattig Norbert, An Le Van, Blessmann Jörg, Lotter Hannelore. (2014) Immune markers characteristic for asymptomatically infected and diseased Entamoeba histolytica individuals and their relation to sex. BMC Infectious Diseases 14:621 DOI: 10.1186/s12879-014-0621-1


Blessmann J, Khonesavanh C, Outhaithit P, Manichanh S, Somphanthabansouk K, Siboualipha P, (2010) Venomous Snake Bites in Lao PDR: A retrospective study of 21 snakebite victims in a provincial hospital. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. Vol 41 No 1, 1 – 8.


Dr. med Jörg Blessmann

Phone: 040 42818-535
E-Mail: blessmann@bnitm.de

Medical Scientific Staff

Dr. Ketkesone Phrasisombath PhD, MPH

Project Management in Lao PDR

Dr. med. Jörg Blessmann
Dr. Ketkesone Phrasisombath

Project Management in Vietnam

Dr. med. Jörg Blessmann
Professor Vo Van Thang