Over 3,500 Australians were hospitalised due to contact with a venomous animal or plant in 2017–18, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Venomous bites and stings, 2017–18, found that more than a quarter (26% or 927 cases) of these hospitalisations were caused by bee stings.
‘Australia is home to some of the most venomous animals in the world—including spiders, ticks, and 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world,’
‘The majority of hospitalisations for bee stings were due to allergic reactions, with bees and wasps responsible for 12 of the 19 deaths related to venomous bites and stings in 2017–18,’ said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison from the AIHW’s National Injury Surveillance Unit, based at Flinders University.
Spider bites accounted for one-fifth (19% or 666 cases) of all venomous bite and sting related hospitalisations. Of those 666 cases, redback spiders were responsible for 42.5% (283 cases) of hospitalisations, followed by white-tailed spiders (38 cases), and funnel web spiders (25 cases).
The type of spider was unknown in just under half of all cases (45% or 300 cases).
Venomous snakes were chiefly responsible for 17% (606 cases) of hospitalisations due to venomous bites and stings in 2017–18, with the type of snake unknown in around one-third of those cases (34% or 208 cases). Brown snakes accounted for 36% (215 cases) of hospitalisations due to venomous snake bites, followed by black snakes (83 cases) and tiger snakes (65 cases). Of the 19 deaths recorded in 2017–18, 7 were attributed to venomous snakes.