Tel Aviv University participates in new study to predict snakebites

The research is expected to save many human lives, as snakebites kill about 94,000 people per year.

Eyal Goldstein (photo credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)
Eyal Goldstein
(photo credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)
Researchers from Tel Aviv University partnered with an international research group to create an innovative model for predicting snakebites, according to a press release.  
The research conducted will be able to save many human lives, as snakebites occur nearly 1.8 million times per year, killing approximately 94,000 people. 
In response, the World Health Organization will launch a plan to reduce the amount of snakebites by 50% by 2030. 
The researchers were conducting their work in Sri Lanka, known for being a hotspot for snakebites, and developing a model for predicting snakebites based on the behavior patterns of both farmers and snakes. Snakebites are known to be a major cause of death in tropical areas.
The model's purpose is to determine the probability of a snakebites occurring in certain places at various times, based on extensive data from Sri Lanka. 
It can predict changes in snakebite patterns resulting from possible future climate change, as the model itself can be implemented in different countries and has proved to be very accurate. 
The study was led by Dr. Takuya Iwamura (currently at Oregon State University) and Eyal Goldstein of the School of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Kris Murray of Imperial College London and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London. 
"We built a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary model, which includes the behavior patterns of both sides – snakes and humans – identifying risk factors at various times and places, and warning against them," Goldstein said. "For example, the model can differentiate between low-risk and high-risk areas, a difference that can be manifested in double the number of snakebites."