Immunising with Black Mamba venom up to 130mg
I started a self-immunising program in 2010, after being scratched by a Rinkhals (Hemachatus haemachatus) fang, whilst extracting venom from the snake.
I suffered a severe allergic reaction to this venom. My throat and eyes closed up, so I had difficulty in breathing, I developed a very itchy rash all over my body and my nose wouldn’t stop running. I couldn’t administer any serum, as I have an allergic intolerance to the serum as well.
This reaction was the result of a build-up of many years of exposure to venom and venom dust, due to regularly working with snake venom without a mask.
I therefore decided that it was necessary to start an immunisation program in order to become less allergic to the venom. With such a serious reaction from a scratch would therefore probably mean that I would die from a proper bite, so I needed to protect myself against that.
I started with Black mamba venom. (Dendroaspis polylepis). I mixed a solution of 4000 units of sterilised water to 1unit of pure Black Mamba liquid venom.I injected myself with half a unit of the solution into my left forearm.This solution caused a reaction after 7 minutes.I injected myself once a week.
I continued the immunisation program for 12 months, increasing the venom percentage and decreasing the water dosage, until I had got to the point where I could inject pure venom with no water.
I started with half a unit of pure venom, which had no effect on me, except for a bit of swelling on the left forearm where I had injected myself. No other symptoms were experienced.
I increased the venom dosage each week, until I got to the point when I could inject 15 units of pure venom without it having any effect on me, besides the slight swelling of the left forearm.
I inoculate with a booster of 8 units every 6-8 weeks. No serum was received throughout the immunisation process.
I have been extending the time period between booster shots of 8 units, in order to determine how long it could take for me to start having a reaction to the venom once again, however, I have increased the time period to up to 18 weeks without experiencing a reaction.
I can now work with venom without any allergic reaction occurring.
I was bitten by a Jamsons mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni jamesoni ). It was a substantial bite, which I estimate could have been about 80mg (8 units). Again, I received no serum (anti-venom) and had recovered by the following day.