A zoo worker was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a venomous snake with no known antivenom, whose fangs can kill or cause organ and tissue death.

By Naledi Ushe

The unnamed worker was caring for the African bush viper at a private area of San Diego Zoo when he was attacked on Monday. No updates given on their condition. 

‘Although the San Diego Zoo cares for a number of venomous reptiles, incidents like this are very rare, and the snake was contained at all times with no risk of an escape,’ the zoo said in a statement.

The African bush viper’s venom can cause serious kidney damage and disrupt blood clotting and flow, cause inflammation, hemorrhaging and tissue death, according to National Geographic.

An African bush viper attacked an employee at the San Diego Zoo on Monday. There is no known antivenom for the snake’s bite,
with the worker taken to hospital afterwards

Recorded fatalities from the African bush viper are incredibly rare. There has been at least one recorded death, according to the Department of Defense’s Living Hazards Database.  

As many as 130,000 people die of snakebites every year, according to the World Health Organization. 

National Geographic reports that Venomous snakes kill some 30,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa each year, but the real number may be double that. 

The venom of vipers such as rattlesnakes and adders can cause serious kidney damage and disrupt blood clotting and flow, producing severe inflammation, hemorrhaging, and tissue death. Their venom typically kills within days. 

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