Rattlesnake bite death of hiker in Golden exceedingly rare - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Rattlesnake bite death of hiker in Golden exceedingly rare

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The death of a man in Jefferson County Saturday from a rattlesnake bite defied odds believed to be as long as 1 in 50 million.  Daniel Hohs, 31, died shortly after being bit on the ankle while hiking in Mt. Galbraith Park near Golden.  "Seldom.  Hardly ever happens, fortunately," said Dr. Brendon Browning, an emergency room physician at UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs.  7,000 to 8,000 bites to humans by venomous snakes are reported per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Of those, an average of 5 die per year.  "It is pretty rare in this country to die from a rattlesnake bite," said Dr. Stein Bronsky, an emergency room physician at Penrose St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs.

"They're not out to get us.  They're very elusive creatures," explained Tim Crowther, an associate at Scales & Tails reptile shop in Colorado Springs.  Crowther explains that rattlesnakes typically try to avoid interactions with humans.  "Rattlesnakes will not always rattle," Crowther said.  "The rattle is more for our benefit than for their benefit because they're trying to warn us, 'Hey, don't tread on me.'"

Around a quarter of rattlesnake bites are "dry," or do not include injection of venom, Browning said.  The rest involve some level of venom injection.  "If you're seeing a whole lot of swelling, then you know you've got venom in there."  At the first sign of venom injection, both doctors say get to a hospital immediately.  "The most important thing is to try to receive medical care and medical attention as quickly as possible," Bronsky said.  "There's only one treatment.  It's what we call CroFab," Browning said.  "It's an anti-venom medication.  You inject it into the body and it binds up the venom and prevents it from acting further."

"There's really nothing that you can do if you're bitten by a venomous snake, other than remaining calm and seeking medical attention as soon as possible," Crowther said.  "I was pretty shocked, to be honest with you, to hear that a young man was killed by a rattlesnake native to this region."

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