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Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(7):1253

Among the many excellent articles in this issue is one of several articles contributed over the years by Gregory Juckett, M.D., M.P.H., whom we've come to know as our pest specialist. “Venomous Snakebites in the United States: Management Review and Update,” written by Dr. Juckett and coauthor John G. Hancox, M.D., West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, appears on page 1367. Dr. Juckett, an associate professor of family medicine at West Virginia University, is a diplomate in tropical medicine of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and coordinates the International Travel Clinic at West Virginia University. His interests have led him to write a number of articles on travel medicine for AFP, earning himself the endearing nickname “bug doc” among some of our editors.

“Bugs”—parasites—and snakes are among Dr. Juckett's areas of expertise, and his list of contributions in these areas is growing. Perhaps because manuscript editors at AFP tend to be fascinated by the slightly unusual, they look forward to editing Dr. Juckett's articles and often vie for the privilege— and we're guessing that some of these topics hold a similar fascination for our readers. Family physicians are in an ideal position to warn patients about the potential dangers of pests and parasites, warnings that are especially important for patients planning to head into the woods this spring. Dr. Juckett's articles provide physicians with the information they need to help patients avoid contact with pests and handle the outcome of exposures if they occur.

As Drs. Juckett and Hancox point out, venomous snakebite is a true medical emergency requiring immediate attention, and recommendations regarding first aid and management of snakebite have changed radically in recent years. Dr. Juckett provides an update on snakebite management and includes with his article a beautiful picture guide (page 1368) to common North American snakes: varieties of rattlesnake (which are most often implicated in snakebites), copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral snakes are shown.

A patient information handout on snakebite prevention and first aid accompanies the article, on page 1377. Patients should be warned that most snakebites occur between April and October, when outdoor activities are common, and that simple precautions may help them avoid snake encounters.

To help counsel patients who may be planning summer vacation trips or who may have other potential exposures to parasites, you may want to consult some of Dr. Juckett's previously published articles, available on the AFP Web site:

  • “Malaria Prevention in Travelers” ( This article provides useful advice for your patients who are planning trips to international desti nations. A patient information handout accompanied the article, and updated patient information is maintained at [Am Fam Physician 1999;59:2523–30,2535–6].

  • “Prevention and Treatment of Traveler's Diarrhea” ( This article will help physicians teach patients how to avoid the discomfort of traveler's diarrhea. A patient information handout on traveler's diarrhea is available at [Am Fam Physician 1999;60:119–24,135–6].

  • “Pets and Parasites” ( This article is reminds us which parasites can be transmitted by household cats and dogs. A patient infor mation handout on pets and parasites is available at [Am Fam Physician 1997;56:1763–74, 1776–7].

Other articles by Dr. Juckett can be obtained through AFP's reader services department (call Ariana Reeder at 800-274-2237, ext. 5103).

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