A 21-year-old woman from Weinan in northwestern China’s Shaanxi Province fell into a coma and was later pronounced brain dead after being bitten by a highly venomous snake that she bought online.
The woman, who was identified by her pseudonym Xiaofang, was reportedly bitten by a many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus) on her left hand while she was at home in Weinan, according to South China Morning Post.
She later called for help about an hour after being bitten, and reported feeling dizzy and nauseous, her parents said. Unfortunately, the woman fell into a coma after she was brought to the hospital on July 9.
However, the hospital did not have any supplies of antivenin to treat bites from the many-banded krait, a breed that is not common in the area and is under the endangered species list in China.
She was not given a shot of the antidote until later in the evening, and received another four doses sent from a hospital in Shanghai, Asia Times reported.
The woman reportedly bought the snake from an unspecified online shopping platform to use in a recipe to make “snake wine.” However, for reasons unknown, she decided to keep the animal as a pet.
The serum did not cure the woman from the venom. She was later connected to a machine to assist her breathing, and doctors declared that she was brain dead on July 11.
Xiaofang was eventually sent home with her parents and the machine. Her family has given up seeking medical help for their daughter.
Last Tuesday, the women’s parents told the police that the snake had gone missing. The animal was reportedly found dead near the family’s home later that same day.
The recent incident triggered an online debate among netizens over whether the government should increase their efforts to put a stop to online selling of live animals as China’s Postal Law states that such sales are illegal.
Despite this, many online sellers continue to offer live animals such as snakes, lizards, scorpions, and mice.