Paediatric Acute care Guidelines PMH Emergency Department
  • The Snake Venom Detection Kit (SVDK) is not kept in the Emergency Department, but in Haematology
  • ED staff collect the specimens and send to Haematology
  • For advice on the management of snake bites contact Poisons Information: 131126 or refer to the Toxicology Handbook 


  • Venom is most likely to be detected in a swab from the bite site
  • Urine may be tested in patients who show evidence of envenomation when the bite site swab was inconclusive
  • As a last resort venom stained clothing may be tested
  • Blood should not be sent for venom detection


  • The SVDK is not used to determine if the patient has been envenomed
  • Evidence of envenomation is based on history, physical examination and the results of laboratory tests
  • If envenomation is confirmed, the (SVDK  is used by the laboratory to determine the correct monovalent antivenom to be used for treatment



  • Specimen collection is to be carried out by an ED Doctor
  • Specimens are then sent to Haematology for testing


  • Buffered swab 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves             
  • Saline solution ampoules
  • Yellow top (urine collection) jar

Buffered Swab                          Buffered swab


Ensure use of personal protective equipment

Bite site specimen (preferred)

  • Moisten the buffered swab with 0.9% saline solution
  • Do not remove the pressure immobilisation bandage
  • Separate the bandage to create a small window to expose the bite site
  • Swab the bite site thoroughly (the puncture marks can be gently squeezed)
  • Send the labelled swab immediately to Haematology with “snake venom detection” written on request form
  • Do not delay while other specimens are collected

Urine specimen (alternative specimen if envenomation is clinically likely, but bite site specimen negative or inconclusive)

  • Collect a fresh urine sample in a yellow-top urine collection jar
  • Send the labelled sample to the Haematology lab with “snake venom detection” written on request form

Clothing specimen (alternative specimen)

  • Venom stained clothing or bandage can be tested
  • Cut a small piece of the affected cloth – about 1cm square
  • Place cloth in a dry yellow-top urine collection jar
  • Send the labelled specimen to Haematology with “snake venom detection” written on request form



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