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Neurotoxicity associated with suspected southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis helleri) envenomation.

An 18-year-old man was bitten on the hand by a snake he believed to be a Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis helleri). Within minutes he developed generalized weakness, difficulty breathing, diplopia, dysphagia, and dysphonia. Neurological examination revealed ptosis and decreased motor strength. These symptoms partially improved after administration of Antivenin (Crotalidae) Polyvalent, but the patient continued to have difficulty walking for several days due to weakness. In addition to neurological symptoms, the patient also experienced pain immediately after the bite occurred and rapid swelling of the entire extremity, which extended beyond the shoulder. He complained of a metallic taste in his mouth and developed intense muscle fasciculations of the face, tongue, and upper extremities, which lasted for 2 days and did not improve with antivenin treatment. He exhibited laboratory evidence of coagulopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Although neurotoxins are known to occur in the venom of certain populations of rattlesnakes, only a few clinical reports describing severe neurological symptoms appear in the literature. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of neurotoxicity associated with a suspected Southern Pacific rattlesnake envenomation.

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