Descriptive Epidemiology Of Animal Bites In Indiana, 1990-92--A Rationale For Intervention
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Descriptive Epidemiology Of Animal Bites In Indiana, 1990-92--A Rationale For Intervention

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      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      Animal bites are a reality of life throughout the world. They arise out of an imperfect relationship with domestic animals and wildlife. Most bite injuries are preventable. The principal approaches to community-wide bite prevention programs include reducing the number of domestic animals roaming in the community (animal control) and teaching people to refrain from behaviors likely to provoke bites. This article addresses the epidemiologic basis and justification for a bite prevention program targeted toward children. Animal bite data from Indiana for the years 1990, 1991, and 1992 were analyzed for trends that might suggest opportunities for preventive intervention. Bites inflicted by humans were not included in this data base. Children of all age groups were disproportionately affected, with the highest incidence in the 5-9 year age group. The dog and the cat were the most commonly reported biting animals. Wild and pet rodents were the next most frequent biting group. The bites most frequently reported from nonrodent wild animals were inflicted by raccoons. The incidence of animal bites in children peaked during the spring (April-June). Boys were bitten at a higher rate than girls, but this difference between the sexes narrows with age and was not noted in the adult population. Residents of urban counties (population greater than 100,000) had higher reported bite rates than residents of nonurban counties.
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