Antivenom loss adds danger

LIFE-SAVING treatment for snake bites is potentially hours away from East Coast residents after the only antivenom in the region was ruined on Sunday night.

Vials of antivenom were rendered unusable at a local doctor's surgery after a fridge fault saw the product frozen.

An East Coast pharmacy, the only other place to stock antivenom in the region, inadvertently left a fridge door open, again ruining the sensitive product.

Antivenom is only administered by doctors and stored at select locations in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport.

Reptile Rescue Freycinet GSB branch owner Bruce Press said the prospect of a summer without antivenom was terrifying.

Mr Press fears he is sending his 10 volunteers to jobs unprotected. The organisation received 13 call-outs last Thursday alone.

Headaches, blurred vision, lost consciousness and kidney failure are symptomatic of certain snake bites. Death can result if the person remains untreated.

``We're about to be inundated on Thursday with people coming and using their shacks,'' the Swansea-based man said.

``If someone's bitten by a snake at Freycinet National Park, by the time they get to Swansea they could be buggered.

``We have snakes all through national parks and in some homes.

``Oh my goodness, it's thrown us into turmoil - it's, `Do we go, do we not go?'.''

East Coast residents rallied to raise hundreds of dollars in 2011 for the two vials ruined at the weekend.

Mr Press is desperate for funds to buy more antivenom. Anyone able to assist can call 0400502403.

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