A man is dead after he was bitten by a brown snake while trying to help his dog in the north-west of New South Wales. The 24-year-old was rushed to hospital by a family member but died within an hour of being bitten on the finger in a backyard in Tamworth on Wednesday night. Sergeant Josh McKenzie told the ABC: “He went to investigate his small dog barking and found the dog to have a small brown snake in his mouth.
“He’s then gone to try and separate the dog from the snake and was bitten on the finger.”
McKenzie said that despite the administration of antivenom and attempts to resuscitate the man, he died in hospital.
A report will be prepared for the coroner, NSW police said on Friday.
Fatal snake bites still remain rare in Australian but brown snake venom is among the most potent in the world. The reptile is responsible for more than 60% of snake-bite deaths in Australia, according to the University of Melbourne.
A study of snake-bite fatalities from January 2000 to December 2016 found 35 deaths recorded by the National Coronial Information Service, with 16 a direct result of the bite. Most fatal bites took place around the home.
Dr Timothy Jackson from the Melbourne University’s Australian Venom Research Unit said two to three people die from snake bites each year in Australia.
There was upwards of 100,000 snake bite deaths annually worldwide, meaning Australian fatalities are quite low given the number of venomous reptiles across the country, Dr Jackson said.