“Incidents like this are very rare,” a San Diego Zoo spokesperson tells PEOPLE

By Naledi Ushe
April 13, 2021 06:22 PM
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bush viper
Credit: getty images

A San Diego Zoo handler was hospitalized on Monday after being bit by a venomous snake.

The incident occurred when the employee was caring for the African bush viper, scientifically known as Atheris squamigera, in a private area of the facility, a San Diego Zoo spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement.

The spokesperson adds, "In keeping with our protocols, the staff member was immediately taken to a hospital for evaluation and medical care, and we remain in close contact."

The spokesperson later shared a positive update, telling PEOPLE, "We are pleased to share that the team member is at home and doing well, and on the way to a full recovery."

San Diego Zoo
Credit: getty images

"Although the San Diego Zoo cares for a number of venomous reptiles, incidents like this are very rare," the spokesperson says.

The African bush viper has no antivenom treatment specific to the species, according to the Seneca Park Zoo. 

National Geographic listed symptoms of a bite from the snake as "serious kidney damage and disrupt blood clotting and flow" and "severe inflammation, hemorrhaging, and tissue death. The outlet also states, "Their venom typically kills within days."

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The reptile "can cause fevers or internal bleeding, which can be fatal," a study from the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) revealed.

Although, the ACMT found that antivenom treatment for other snakes was effective in treating a "healthy" 32-year-old amateur snake keeper that was previously bitten by an African bush viper.

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Antivenom used for other snakes was also effective in treating a Dallas man in 2015 that was bitten by an African bush viper he was illegally keeping at his home, The Dallas Morning News reported.