Snakebite nurse lucky to be alive

Delmae Ryan stepped on an Asian pit viper in Pokhara in late September but found Nepal's hospitals did not stock the antivenom required. She had to wait three days before being medically cleared to take the 20-hour flight home to Brisbane with a painful and swollen right leg.

Without the antivenom, she risked haemorrhaging to death from the snake's haemotoxic venom, which destroys blood cells and tissue.

Once doctors in Brisbane identified the snake, they began a marathon effort to find the antidote, calling zoos, universities, research labs and antivenom manufacturers across the country.

The antivenom was eventually located at Melbourne's Monash University and administered to Mrs Ryan on Sunday, a week after she was bitten.

"I feel very, very lucky. If there's not someone passionate enough to fight for your cause, I don't know where I would be," she told reporters from her hospital bed on Monday.

Mrs Ryan, 49, said she feared