Historische adderbeten. Deel 1: Een overzicht van dodelijke beten in Nederland
RAVON , Volume 15 - Issue 1 p. 2- 7
Deadly adder bites in the Netherlands – historical review For decades, a total of just three deadly bites of the Adder (Vipera berus) since 1885 has been taken to be true for the Netherlands. This figure was based on Hemmes’ (1973) publication, in which cases were described after examining medical archives and interviewing physicians. However, the recent digitization of historical newspapers by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) has widened the search possibilities. The number of deaths, now reported over a period going back to about 1805, should probably be corrected to thirteen. More fatal bites were recorded in the 19th century than the 20th, probably because in more modern times, fewer people were engaged in agricultural activities. Most deaths were recorded in the northern provinces of Drenthe and Friesland. Eight of the victims were under eighteen years of age, and four of the five adults were women. That children proved to be especially vulnerable to an adder bite, was probably because they weighed less; the amount of venom per unit body weight would have been higher than in an adult. For the same reason, a bite would have more effect on a woman than a man. However, men had a higher risk of being bitten as they tended to try and catch the snakes and worked on the moorlands more often.
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