‘Joe Knows’ snake-bite reports “riddled with inaccuracies,” doctors association says

‘Joe Knows’ snake-bite reports “riddled with inaccuracies,” doctors association says
Josiah 'Joe Knows' Castang (left) and a Fer-de-lance
Josiah ‘Joe Knows’ Castang (left) and a Fer-de-lance

Well-known tour operator Josiah Castang, also known as ‘Joe Knows’, was bitten by a Fer-de-lance while reportedly visiting a waterfall in Anse La Raye earlier this month. The Caribbean Doctors Association released a statement today, Wednesday, September 25, clarifying reports surrounding the incident. See the full statement below.

The latest reported case of snakebite, at Anse la Raye, has generated a degree of media coverage unheard of in
any previous incident. Unfortunately, the reports are riddled with inaccuracies, which can only serve to misinform
the public, thereby increasing the widespread negative public perception of the Fer-de-lance in particular, as well
as our other three endemic species, none of which are venomous.

The facts of this particular case are as follows:
• The patient was treated with the prescribed anti-venom upon arrival at Victoria Hospital
• The patient was never ‘fighting for his life’
• His leg was not going to be amputated, as there was no dead issue around the wound
• Surgical incisions were made in the region of his calf (fasciotomy)
• The fer-de-lance is not ‘one of the most dangerous snakes in the world’

The patient was never admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which manages critically ill patients, and is
currently recovering in Ward 9, and was able to raise his bandaged leg off his bed, demonstrating his control of
that limb on Monday, September 16. He was discharged on Saturday, September 21.

The six most dangerous snakes in the world are: the Saw Scaled Viper, the King Cobra, the Tiger snake, the Faint
Banded Sea Snake, and the Black Mamba.

It is worth noting that between November 2007 and March 2018, there were 104 reported snakebites in St. Lucia, resulting in three fatalities, less than 3%. Snakebite was declared a neglected tropical disease by the WTO in 2017, and there have been international conferences in French Guyana and Geneva, with Caribbean representation by the
Caribbean Doctors Association (CDA). The next conference on snakebite and environmental diseases is scheduled
to take place in French Guyana in March 2020.

There have been public service announcements on the management of snakebite by Dr. Martin Didier, explaining
what needs to be done in the event of a bite. Victoria Hospital staff work closely with toxicologist Dr. Dabor Resiere
of the University Hospital of Martinique in snakebite management. Dr. Resiere is also the president of the CDA.
Additionally, the CDA signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture on behalf of the
Forestry Division.

The Fer-de-lance venom has beneficial medicinal properties, hence a good reason to co-exist with the snake. In
fact, the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in the US breeds our snake in captivity, and sells its venom, along with that of
others, for in excess of US$200 a gram, for research. St. Lucia does not currently benefit from this area of
economic activity!

The WTO designation of snakebite as a neglected tropical disease will undoubtedly lead to more emphasis on
education, improvement in healthcare, and ongoing research. We would welcome media assistance in keeping
the public informed of such positive developments. PREVENTION is the best medicine. For anyone venturing into
a snake zone, the attached flyer provides safety tips.

Keats Compton
Caribbean Doctors Association
Email: [email protected]
25 Sep. 2019


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  1. Wow who these people think they fooling?
    If it was not one of the deadliest he wouldnt be in ward 9.
    A whole ward 9 and yall have the audacity to come out with that adressment.
    System doing anything to cover up when they think they will start losing money smh


    • But whats your point? How do you rate "deadliest?" Shouldn't it be about death? How many people do fer-de-lances kill in the world per year? Don't allow your ignorance to cloud your judgement do some research first.


  2. Who these people think they fooling chps.
    It not the deadliest but he in ward 9 recovering.
    That system always trying to cover up something when they get a hunch that theyll lose money.


  3. So since they are saying it is not fatal if a snake bites you i guess we could walk around not worried bout a snake biting us ........i was always taught snakes are deadly venomous or non venomous. So keep you news to your self


    • Did they ever say that it is not fatal? You might start believing your own self created inaccuracies. Any snake bite can be fatal including the non venomous boa constrictor. All you need to do for any snake bite to become fatal is for you not to get treatment on time.

      Please note what was said : "It is worth noting that between November 2007 and March 2018, there were 104 reported snakebites in St. Lucia, resulting in three fatalities, less than 3%. "

      So how could that statement translate into snake bite not becoming fatal?


  4. Evan the medical and dental association have their facts wrong about this snake.


    • I will take an except from what you have referenced:

      "it has historically been believed that Indian cobras, common kraits, Russell's viper and carpet vipers were the most dangerous species; however other snakes may also cause significant problems in this area of the world.[1] While several species of snakes may cause more bodily destruction than others, any of these venomous snakes are still very capable of causing human fatalities should a bite go untreated, regardless of their venom capabilities or behavioral tendencies. "

      Therefore nothing disputes what the Medical Association has said. Snakes can be separated into many different categories. A snake may be considered dangerous by different criteria, especially by the number of deaths that it causes. Deaths comes as a result of human contact and St. Lucia does not share a high rate of fatality by snake bite compared to the other areas of the world. Therefore "dangerous is subject to our own interpretation because it is not often that our population comes into lethal contact with snakes.


  5. When NAT Geo was filming the top 0 most deadly snakes in the world they came right here in St. Lucia to find the Fer De Lance


  6. The so called medical professionals giving inaccurate news themselves. The fer de lance is indeed one of the top 10 deadliest snakes in the world


  7. Trying to make the man out to be a liar because he expose the conditions of the hospital. Who cares about which snake is the most dangerous snake in the world. What we do care is the lack of basic necessities which is needed at the hospital which is not available. The conditions of the hospital and persons personal experiences at the hospital is what most matters. So stop trying to discredit the man.


    • I would not bank too much on information from Wikipedia..as they have no real control on who writes them, most article therein are written by anyone..I am not saying that there are no articles that are based on actual facts.... but I guess you know that...lol just saying


    • Dude, the article doesn't say that the fer - de - lance is not a dangerous snake. It just is not one of the MOST dangerous!


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