Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus)

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Noppadon Tangpukdee
Polrat Wilairatana
Srivicha Krudsood



The Malayan krait (Bungarus candidus), a venomous snake in the Family Elapidae, is found mainly in northeast Thailand; it is the smallest Bungarus (krait) species. The Malayan krait is reportedly a fierce and venomous nocturnal creature and most bites occur at night or in the early morning. During the daytime, the Malayan krait will secrete itself in darkened places. The venom of the Malayan krait is neurotoxic, but has no cytotoxic effect. The toxic mechanism acts upon the neuro-muscular junction; victims develop ptosis, generalized muscle weakness, respiratory distress and hypoventilation, which may progress to respiratory paralysis and death. Although the incidence of bite by the Malayan krait is rare, it is fatal for most victims. Since the Malayan krait usually bites victims accidentally or in self-defense, therefore, unawareness of having been bitten by a venomous snake, and inappropriate treatment of victims, may result in death. An antivenom for B. candidus is currently available, and clinical data have confirmed its efficacy. For local populations, health education is very important, to reduce the mortality, morbidity and complications of snakebite.

Keywords: Malayan krait; Bungarus candidus; neurotoxin; antivenom

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