Cases of snake bites (Vipera berus) have as compared with past years a rising trend in the Czech Republic. This
ensues among other factors from a higher prevalence of snakes due to the improving ecological situation. The
morbidity of snake bites is of no epidemiological importance, the frequency of snake bites amounts to several tens
per year and in some clinically manifest intoxication does not develop. Nevertheless in individual cases, in children
weakened subjects, a viper bite may be manifested by a serious and in exceptional instances fatal affection. Within
the framework of first aid the authors do not recommend application of a tourniquet or dissectiong of the wound
because of undersirable potentiation of tissue traumatization. Non-specific treatment involves the administration
of corticoids and antihistaminics. Specific immunotherapy, administration of horse antiserum (Ipser Europe, Pasteur
Mérieux, France) is indicated only in case of systemic or very severe local symptoms and is associated with the risk
of a severe allergic reaction. In case of severe systemic symptoms, symptomatic treatment in a health institution of
the appropriate type is of fundamental importance. In all cases observation of the affected subject is recommended
to rule out intoxication or the development of possible complications.
Vipera berus, snake bite, corticosteroids, antihistaminics, specific immunotherapy.