Human Bites And Cobra Teeth Myth - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Human Bites And Cobra Teeth Myth




By Dr Afolabi Tiamiyu 

 It was a Friday evening, I had just arrived in my native country Nigeria and called an old childhood friend to meet me at a local hangout bar. Afro-pop music blaring in the background with the young and the feeling-young singing along to the popular tunes with joy celebrating the momentary break from the daily hassles of nine to five work that the weekend brings. 
Over a plate of pepper soup, a very spicey African delicacy made of different types of meat or fish. Cooked in very tasteful and spicy broth, a local favorite of beer drinkers in my native country, Nigeria. 
Savoring the unique pleasure of gulping down a chilled beer after experiencing the pleasurable hotness that can only come from a well-cooked cow tail peeper soup, I asked the question that had boggled my mind for the past couple of months. 

What happened to schoolboy? 

A couple of months ago I got a call informing me of the unfortunate death of a childhood family friend. We call him “ Schoolboy” a very amiable loving personality. I listened in rapt attention to the story my friend was narrating across the table.
He told me, schoolboy had been accidentally bitten by an individual while he was trying to separate two individuals engaged in a fight. Few days after the bite, Schoolboy became very sick, feverish, sweaty, weak, confused and eventually died. He had unfortunately not presented to the hospital. 
I was moved to tears, I remember the dashing runs and brilliant dribbles of schoolboy on the left side of the football field, he was a leftie. I remember his easy-going personality. 
He went on to tell me he believed that the individual that bit schoolboy had some native juju in his teeth, called Cobra teeth. 
I listened with rapt attention as he told me about the myth of the cobra teeth. 
A myth that is apparently believed by some that certain individuals possess native charms in their teeth that are very deadly once they use it to bite other individuals.

This myth had possibly developed and passed down from generations after they observed incidents where deaths have occurred from human bites. 
At that moment I asked him. What animal bite do you think is the most dangerous?
He kept on guessing from the biggest to the smallest of animals without ever mentioning humans, despite the fact that human bites can be as dangerous or even more dangerous than any other animal bite on the planet. 
Due to the abundant and varied Bacteria flora that exists in the mouth of humans.
Human bites can be extremely very dangerous with fatal consequences if not well treated.
If the bacteria flora in the mouth is able to get into the muscle fascia, blood vessels, and bones it can lead to an infection of the blood system called septicemia that can then lead to a septic shock. Shock here mainly means inadequate blood perfusion of body organs due to low blood pressure.
The bacteria produce certain toxins in the body that amongst many other dangerous things cause the blood vessels to become porous allowing fluid or water in our bloodstream to start leaking out just like a water pipe with holes leaking out of it. Due to this leakage, the pressure in the blood vessels begins to decrease. 

Eventually, there isn’t enough blood pressure to ensure circulation to the organs of the body hence they begin to shut down, leading to a state of shock.
The brain begins to shut down and the individual may become confused or even comatose, other body organs also shut down and the heart may eventually shut down leading to the death of the individual. 

After our conversation, I realized I needed to write about the danger of the human bite and bring a necessary awareness to it. 
Certainly, this writing cannot fully cover, nor intended to cover the full extent of the literature of the science of the human bite, rather it is written with hopes that it will bring awareness to the apparent, not well-known danger the human bite portends.
It is also written with the hope that this awareness may perhaps save the life of at least one individual somewhere someday. 

A visit to the health facility or personnel in the occurrence of a human bite immediately is most appropriate, where the wound should be properly cleaned and prophylactic antibiotics commenced. 

An antibiotic called ( Augmentin ) popular around the world is primarily advised with tetanus vaccine if the individual is not yet adequately vaccinated against tetanus. 

However, it worths stating it here that no postmortem was done in respect of the schoolboy's case hence other possibilities of cause of death exists.

The piece by Dr Afolabi Tiamiyu, a physician based in Atlanta, Georgia,
 is dedicated to the loving memory of Schoolboy, may his soul rest in everlasting peace 

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