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TORONTO ZOO CURATOR ASSISTS MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AT SCARBOROUGH AND ROUGE HOSPITAL WITH LIFE-SAVING SNAKE BITE TREATMENT

TORONTO, ON, Thursday, November 30, 2017 - On Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at approximately 10:00 pm the Toronto Zoo Safety and Security office received a phone call from Ontario Poison Control Centre regarding a medical emergency at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Emergency Department. A patient had experienced a snake bite from a monocled cobra which is native to Asia, they required a supply of life-saving anti-venom and wanted to be connected with Dr. Andrew Lentini, the Toronto Zoo’s Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Dr. Lentini was contacted, and after consulting with physicians at Ontario Poison Control and Scarborough and Rouge Hospital asked Zoo Safety and Security officers on Zoo site to provide the appropriate anti-venom to Toronto Police Services for emergency transport to the hospital. At approximately 11:00 pm Dr. Lentini arrived at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital to be able to receive the transport of the anti-venom from Toronto Police, and to consult with the medical team on a treatment plan for the patient. Dr. Lentini remained at the hospital through the night to provide assistance and information as required, and the patient is currently recovering from the incident.

Toronto Zoo holds venomous snake anti-venom for venomous snakes that are housed at the Toronto Zoo. Snake anti-venom is imported through health Canada’s special access programme for non-marketed drugs for the treatment of serious or life-threatening conditions and is stocked at the Toronto Zoo primarily to ensure the health and safety of our Toronto Zoo staff. The costs associated with treating a snake bite are considerable, and often include emergency staff support (police and EMS), Hospital Care networks and emergency staff, Ontario Poison Control and specialists such as Toronto Zoo staff.

Although illegal in the City of Toronto and in most jurisdictions, there are a wide variety of venomous reptiles kept in private collections in Ontario. This occurrence is an example of why the Toronto Zoo works closely with health care professionals, enforcements agencies and makes every effort to educate and inform the public about the possible dangers of keeping illegal venomous snakes, not only for individuals but to the general public as a whole. In the absence of proper and immediate treatment, venomous snake bites can be fatal. In addition to the health risks involved, keeping venomous snakes is an illegal activity that could result in significant fines.

“This near tragic incidence illustrates the need for regulations in Ontario regarding the keeping of exotic animals which pose special risks to the health of owners and to the health of those around them,” said Dr. Lentini, Toronto Zoo Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles.

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Toronto Zoo Media Contacts:

Katie Gray, Supervisor of Public Relations and Events
kgray@torontozoo.ca or #416-392-5941

Amanda Chambers, Public Relations and Events Associate
achambers@torontozoo.ca or #416-392-5974

Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Media Contact:

Claire Hastings
Communications Officer, Scarborough and Rouge Hospital
#416-836-4640 or chastings@tsh.to

About The Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is Canada’s premier zoo and a national leader in saving wildlife to ensure the rich diversity of nature for future generations. More than a tourist attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year.





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