Epidemiologic and clinical aspects of animal bite injuries

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99 Scopus citations


During 1975, 332 animal bite injuries accounted for 1.2% of all surgical problems treated at the UCLA Hospital Emergency Department. Data on 307 bite injuries were available and analyzed for environmental, animal, human, interaction, and clinical factors. More than half of the dog bites and almost three fourths of the cat bites-scratches happened at or near the victims' homes. Dog bites were almost twice as common among men, while cat bites-scratches were twice as common among women. Of the incidents in which ownership information was available, 85% of dog bites and 80% of cat bites-scratches were from an animal belonging to the victim, his family or friends, or another known person. Forty-three percent of dog bites, and 52% of cat bites-scratches were provoked, that is, happened while the victim was interacting with the animal. Of bites of the head and/or neck, 38% injured the upper lip; 17% of dog bites injured the eye or adjacent tissues; 48% were in children less than ten-years-old. One fifth of cat bites-scratches involved the head and/or neck, 60% of these injured orbital or periorbital tissues. Over 2% of patients were hospitalized. Five percent of dog bite victims and 29% of cat bite-scratch victims returned with complications, mostly cellulitis or lymphangitis. Pasteurella multocida was the most common pathogen cultured, as evidenced by the 50% and 80% culture-positive rates for dog and cat bite-scratches respectively in this series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Emergency Physicians
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • bites and stings epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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