IMMUNISATION

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.