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Coral Snake Envenomation

Background

Approximately 40-50 species of venomous coral snakes exist in North America and South America, with the greatest variety from Mexico to northern South America. A number of African and Asian coral snake species also exist. All coral snakes belong to the family Elapidae; Micrurus fulvius (eastern coral snake) and Micrurus tener (Texas coral snake) are the most important species in the United States.

Another US coral snake, Micruroides euryxanthus (Sonoran or Arizona coral snake), is a relatively innocuous snake, and no deaths have been attributed to its bite.

Coral snakes tend to be relatively shy creatures, and bites are uncommon. Coral snakes account for less than 1% of venomous snakebites in the United States. Most people bitten by coral snakes are handling them intentionally. Most bites occur in the spring or fall.

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