Monday, March 2, 2015

Venomous Snake Found In Rice

Grocery shopping has taken a more deadly turn than the threats of cholesterol, fat and carbs thanks to a derelict Thai rice company.
Healthy fiber filled brown rice.
June Cantanas, 48, of Rexford, Montana, thought she would make a healthy lifestyle change for herself and her 53 year old husband, Stephan Cantanas. Mrs. Cantanas purchased a 20 pound bag of brown rice and decided to separate the giant bag several smaller more manageable bags. She got down to the lower quarter of the bag and felt a couple of pricks on the back of her fingers but thought nothing of it. She ran out of bags and stored the remainder of the larger bag in her pantry. Mrs. Cantanas' didn't realize her fingers had scraped against the fangs of a deceased Bungarus fasciatus also known as a Banded Krait, now stowed away in her kitchen pantry.
Not the actual bag.
Within an hour of her scrape or "bite," Mrs. Cantanas complained of dizziness and trouble breathing and her husband drove her to a hospital in Eureka. Doctors in Eureka were dumbfounded over June's symptoms, especially when her condition continued to progress until she was completely paralyzed and unable to breath and was put on artificial respiration. Doctors likened the symptoms to the envenomation from a Coral Snake, the only Elapid native to North America but NOT Montana. Due to a shortage of Coral Snake antivenom, the hospital had none on hand, though it could not have been administered without a positive identification of the actual bite. Without antivenom, the normal protocol for neurotoxic envenomation is to let the venom run it's course and keep the patient's vitals stabilized artificially until the body can resume it's normal functions.
Coral Snake Antivenom.
Within 72 hours, June was back home and enjoying her new lease on life and healthy lifestyle though her mystery illness was never really resolved. Two weeks later, Mrs. Cantanas decided to empty the remainder of her large bag of rice into a Tupperware container and found the shock of her life. Within the container of rice was a dead brown and black banded snake with it's mouth gaping open and full of rice. Mrs. Cantanas and her husband called Animal Services who positively identified the snake as the highly venomous Banded Krait. Ron DeWald of the animal services explains "Venom never looses it's potency after the death of a snake, in fact as the snake dries out, it's venom thickens and becomes more concentrated." Mrs. Cantanas burned all of the rice in her backyard after notifying the store of her ordeal. "I will never touch a grain of rice as long as I live," says June along with her husband nodding his head in agreement.
Banded Krait, not the actual snake.
The store manager sent every bag of rice more than 5 pounds back to their vendors just in case of any similar stowaways. The manufacturer and import company responsible for the snake tainted rice? Closed down and driven out of business by the Thai government due to "dangerous working conditions" a week after the shipment of rice arrived on the shores of the US and on store shelves within a week.
A rice paddy in Thailand.

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