Animal and human bite injuries in Victoria, 1998-2004

Catherine MacBean, David McD Taylor, Karen Michelle Ashby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Objective:. To describe the epidemiology of mammal (human and non-human) bite injuries in Victoria. Participants, design and setting: Retrospective case series of injuries recorded in the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD) (1998-2004) and deaths recorded in the National Coroners Information System (1 July 2000 - 1 June 2006). Main outcome measures: Frequency, nature and outcome of injury as a function of mammal, victim demographics and season. Results: Of 12982 bite injuries identified in the VEMD, dogs, humans, and cats were implicated in 79.6 , 8.7 , and 7.2 of cases, respectively. Dog bite injuries were commonly sustained to the hands/wrists (31.3 ) and face/head (25.4 ); cat bites to the hands/wrists (67.6 ) and arms (16.0 ); and human bites to the hands/wrists (37.1 ),. arms (20.5 ) and face/head (20.4 ). Males comprised 73.7 and 56.3 of human and. dog bite victims, respectively, while females comprised 64.1 of cat bite victims. A third of dog bite victims (33.4 ) were children aged 14 years or less. Most human bite victims (79.8 ) were adults aged 20-49 years, inclusive. More injuries were sustained on weekends and during the summer, 55.4 of injuries occurred in the home, and 11.6 of patients required hospital admission. Dog bites resulted in three deaths. Conclusions: Mammal bite injuries are common and often require inpatient care: Patterns of bite injuries relate to the type of mammal involved. These epidemiological data will inform prevention initiatives to decrease the incidence of mammal bites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38 - 40
Number of pages3
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Cite this