The victims, from Mpoza near Tsolo on the Eastern Cape, reported symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches and stomach cramps.
It is believed they were suffering from the after effects of the snake’s deadly venom, which had settled in the animal’s flesh.
As many as 16 children had to be ferried to hospital.
Eight of those were transferred to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital’s paediatric ward for specialist treatment.
Others were taken to the Mthatha Regional Hospital on Thursday.
Four elderly patients who also ate meat from the contaminated corpse were transferred to Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital.
It is unclear whether any of their conditions are life threatening.
South Africa’s Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: ‘Given the mass casualty nature of the incident, St Barnabas Hospital in Libode has also been put on standby to create space for additional patients that don’t require tertiary or regional services.’
‘The department is urging communities to stop consuming meat from dead animals you find as it is dangerous to do so.’
Cobras are a kind of Elapidae – a family of venomous snakes found in the tropics and subtropics around the world.
Their venom contains postsynaptic neurotoxins that spread rapidly in a victim’s bloodstream, causing respiratory failure and, eventually, death.
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