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Man fatally bitten by copperhead in Carter County, Mo.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

VAN BUREN, Mo. -- For only the second time in about 100 years, death due to snakebite has been confirmed in Missouri.

Terry Brown of Ellsinore, Mo., was camped in the area of the Current River known as the Clubhouse on Saturday, his 50th birthday, when he was bitten on the thumb while trying to remove a young copperhead from a tent around 10 p.m., according to Carter County deputy coroner Eric McSpadden. The Clubhouse area is about two miles south of Big Spring.

Emergency responders arrived within 15 minutes to transport Brown to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, but the man was already dying, said McSpadden, who spoke with those at the scene and medical personnel.

Brown died at 7:15 a.m. Sunday at the hospital.

Snakebite deaths are rare in the United States, and Brown's death may be the result of complications from an undiagnosed heart problem, McSpadden said.

"This one would not have been fatal if it had not been for other health conditions," he said.

This is only the second confirmed death associated with a copperhead bite in Missouri as long as records have been kept, said A.J. Hendershott, Missouri Department of Conservation outreach and education regional supervisor with the Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau. The first was in 1965.

"Death is incredibly uncommon," Hendershott said.

Rattlesnakes are the most toxic in Missouri, followed by cottonmouth snakes and then copperheads, he said.

Treatment varies based on the individual, but children and the elderly would be more susceptible to the effects. Hendershott warned that trying to suck out the venom is bad advice.

"Antivenom is the best choice. You need to go to the hospital and be treated properly," he said, adding he would normally be more concerned about the many diseases ticks carry than a copperhead bite.

Hendershott advised people to watch where they put their hands and feet while outdoors, the most common places people are bitten. Bites are most likely to occur, according to Hendershott, because people are not careful or because they are trying to deal with a snake.

Brown's wife, Eileen, said Tuesday through a family friend that her husband was trying to remove the snake from the tent of two 15-year-old boys who were camping with the family.

Brown had lived in the Van Buren and Ellsinore areas his entire life and camped in the Clubhouse area since he was a boy.

A visitation followed by a memorial service will begin at 5 p.m. Friday at McSpadden Funeral Home in Van Buren.

Pertinent address:

Van Buren, MO

Ellsinore, MO

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My prayers are with this Family...very sad

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Tue, Jul 3, 2012, at 4:59 PM

Me too!

-- Posted by vietnamvet on Tue, Jul 3, 2012, at 9:52 PM

the club house landing area is where i was raised- we keeped the area neat and clean-the department of interior is responsible for keeping the camp sites clean and safe-that is our government-go to hunter campsite-club house and others-weeds around the bath rooms is wast high-dead trees where you camp-our tax money pays the people that runs the river ways to keep these ares clean-they need to get off there a$$ and earn there keep--since the took over the rivers in 1964 these places have been deteriorating -they go to work just to get a check

-- Posted by graham-don@att.net on Thu, Jul 5, 2012, at 8:44 AM

Very sad. Prayers with the family.

-- Posted by SterlingCooper on Thu, Jul 5, 2012, at 10:21 AM

My thoughts and prayers are with this man's family and friends.

To, -- Posted by graham-don@att.net

HUH! When people have to try and decipher what you said, it kind of takes away from any point you may have been trying to make. Only the last part, "they go to work just to get a check", is clear. And that fits 99.9% of the worldwide workforce.

-- Posted by malan on Thu, Jul 5, 2012, at 12:28 PM

to malan---get off your but and go check those camp sites out-the club house area has been my favorite place where i worked and played and camped since there was open range--i love the river ways and the senic river ways is going to hell--for the past 6 years i try to keep the river clean--iam stream team 2515--they let the horse people walk there horses in the river where they urinate and crap in the river---but you take a bar of soap in the river to clean your self-you will get a ticket --its very nice to have a government job to get paid for doing nothing

-- Posted by graham-don@att.net on Fri, Jul 6, 2012, at 8:40 AM

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