CORRESPONDENCE

Citizen science could map snakebite risk

University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Contact

Search for this author in:

University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Search for this author in:

University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Search for this author in:

Snake bites kill an estimated 81,000–138,000 people and disable 400,000 globally every year. The World Health Organization and the Wellcome Trust are both taking action (go.nature.com/2xxrizc and Nature https://doi.org/c8jk; 2019). We suggest that citizen science could also help to reduce the toll.

More than 50 Facebook groups share snake images and related metadata. Crowdsourced photographic evidence is being used to rapidly identify snake species globally (see go.nature.com/2xge7b2 and go.nature.com/2xlecpq).

Such data could increase our understanding of snakebite epidemiology. By combining this information with human-population data, we could identify populations that are most at risk from snake bites. This would help us to attribute clinical symptoms to particular species and steer treatments to where they are needed.

Nature 571, 478 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02247-7

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.