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Wed May 25 07:20:08 SAST 2016

Girl falls victim to rare Australian case of deadly snakebite

AFP | 15 February, 2016 14:04

A young girl has died in Australia after being bitten by the feared brown snake according to officials.

Her death represents a rare fatality even though the country is home to some of the planet's deadliest species.

The death of the six-year-old prompted emergency services to warn people to be on their guard against brown snakes, whose bite is often painless. They are known as nervous reptiles that strike with little hesitation.

Police in New South Wales state said the girl was bitten on Friday on a rural property near Walgett, some 660 kilometres (409 miles) northwest of Sydney.

She was taken to a local hospital and given anti-venom before being flown to Sydney Children's Hospital on life support. But her condition worsened and she died on Saturday.

According to official estimates there are about 3,000 snakebite cases in Australia every year, with 300-500 needing anti-venom treatment. Only an average of two a year prove fatal.

Australia is home to 20 of the world's 25 most venomous snakes. The Eastern Brown Snake causes more deaths than any other species, according to the Australian Museum.

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