Test Code: Sbite Preferred Name Snake venom detection

30 minutes
As required
Medicare Item

Test Tubes

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Swab from bite site placed in diluent is the recommended specimen type.
Please contact haematology on Ext. 8665 for swab, vial of yellow diluent and instructions.
Please return vial containing swab to CSR in a red specimen bag.
Please refer to package insert or contact the Haematology laboratory for details of other suitable specimens
Other possible specimen types such as blood, serum and plasma can produce erroneous results


The physical identification of Australian and Papua New Guinean snakes is notoriously unreliable. There is often marked colour variation between juvenile and adult snakes and wide size, shape and colour variation between snakes of the same species. Reliable snake identification requires expert knowledge of snake anatomy, a snake key and the physical handling of the snake. Attempts to catch and or kill offending snakes after a bite, may speed
the onset of clinical symptoms and can cause further bites. This time is better spent on the rapid application of the pressure immobilisation method of first aid. Identification of the offending snake venom’s immunotype using the Snake Venom Detection Kit allows the selection of the appropriate monovalent antivenom and provides useful insight into the symptoms characteristic of envenomation by that particular snake. Inability to identify the venom
immunotype will result in the necessity for Polyvalent antivenom to be used, this increases the cost of the therapy and the incidence and severity of adverse reactions. - Bite site specimens containing extremely high levels of snake venom may give equivocal results, even though the test is performed according to the instructions detailed in this product leaflet. Recent testing at CSL has demonstrated that the SVDK assay can be overwhelmed by venom levels  exceeding 10mg/mL (1 million times the minimum limit of detection) leading to a reduction in signal strength in the target well and increased cross-reactivity in the other wells. Please note that this will only occur with bite site samples in exceptional circumstances, where
large amounts of venom are present. Care should therefore be taken not to swab large amounts of snake venom from the skin surrounding a bite site. While we recommend that the bite site swab as the sample most likely to give a useful result, urine, blood or a dilution of the bite site swab should be tested if the above effect is suspected.

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