Note: we are republishing this story to raise awareness about the dangers of venomous snakes. An estimated 7,000–8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year in the US. More on this here: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/snakes/default.html
A Missouri man died in his sleep hours after he was bitten by a snake and refused medical attention.
37-year-old Gilbert Deleon was bitten twice as he was wading in the James River near the Delaware Town Access. He refused to go to hospital for treatment, telling his girlfriend that he couldn't afford it. Later in the night, his girlfriend noticed symptoms.
Brad Cole, Christian County coroner, said: "During the night, she thought he was having some labored breathing, but once again could not get him to go to the doctor or seek medical attention."
Deleon died in his sleep that night. With people enjoying their summers in the waterways, officials are reminding people to be safe around wildlife.
Warren Rose of the Department of Conservation said: "Whether it's a snake or any sort of wild animal you may run across, it's best just to leave them alone, they're out there in their habitat in their environment and just give them their distance and everything should be fine."
Rose added: "Anytime you're bitten by a snake, whether you can identify the snake or not, it's obviously a good idea to make sure you do get medical attention, you should always err on the side of caution."
Experts don’t know which snake bit Deleon, but they suspect it may have been a cottonmouth.
Sources: ABC 30