Snake (illustration)
Snake (illustration)Thinkstock

Just ahead of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, beginning Tuesday evening, a three-year-old boy was bitten by a snake in the southern community of Har Amasa, which is located in the Negev.

The child was struck by the snake while playing in a local playground. It remains unclear if the snake was poisonous.

Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics arrived on the scene to give the boy medical treatment, and later evacuate him by helicopter to the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva for continued treatment.

The boy's condition was reported as stable; signs of the bite were visible on his foot.

Har Amasa lies in the northern Negev at the feet of the southern Hevron hills, just below the 1949 Armistice lines.

The bite is the latest in a string of unfortunate encounters with snakes in recent months. Last Monday a massive two-meter (roughly six-and-a-half feet) long snake bit a man in his 70s at his home in Givat Yearim, a moshav to the west of Jerusalem. He was transferred to a hospital while conscious and in stable condition.

A poisonous viper snake was found two weeks ago in an upscale north Tel Aviv kindergarten playground, slithering near to where the children were playing. Eventually a trapper was able to capture the snake before it caused any harm.

A similar case occurred earlier last month, when a 10-year-old boy from Kibbutz Givat Haim Meuhad, located near Hadera on the coast, was bit by a poisonous viper snake. The boy was brought to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where he was given an antidote and saved from danger.

The director of the hospital's children's department, Dr. Adi Klein, noted that snakes are leaving their burrows after the winter with the changing of the seasons. Symptoms typical of the first bites of the season include great swelling, stomach pains, a drop in blood pressure, as well as loss of balance. The symptoms develop faster due to the quantity and concentration of the venom which has accumulated over the winter.

"It should be noted that not everyone who is bitten requires an antidote," added Klein. "But even if particularly serious symptoms do not appear, one should be checked at the hospital to determine treatment. It isn't necessary to bring the snake to the emergency room - most bites are from vipers, and the treatment is administered accordingly."