Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001

July 2003 | By the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study that examines the frequency of dog bite-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

Study highlights

  • In 1994, the most recent year for which published data are available, an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occurred in the United States and approximately 799,700 persons required medical care.
  • Of an estimated 333,700 patients treated for dog bites in emergency departments in 1994, approximately 6,000 were hospitalized.
  • To estimate the number of nonfatal dog bite--related injuries treated in U.S. hospital EDs in 2001, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP).
  • In 2001, an estimated 368,245 persons were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for nonfatal dog bite-related injuries.
  • Approximately 154,625 (42%) of dog bites in 2001 occurred among children aged 14 years and younger; injury rates were highest among children aged 5-9 years and were significantly higher for boys than for girls.
  • For injured persons of all ages in 2001, approximately 4.5% of dog bite injuries were work related (occurred to persons delivering mail, packages or food; working at an animal clinic of shelter; or doing home repair work of installations).
  • The number of dig bite injury cases increased slightly during April through September, with a peak in July (11.1%)
  • Injuries occurred most commonly to the arm/hand (45.3%), leg/foot (25.8%), and head/neck (22.8%). The majority (64.9%) of injuries among children aged 4 years and younger were to the head/neck region.
  • Injury diagnoses were described frequently as "dog bite" (26.4%); other diagnoses included puncture (40.2%), laceration (24.7%), contusion/abrasion/hematoma (6.0%), cellulitis/infection (1.5%), amputation/avulsion/crush (0.8%), and fracture/dislocation (0.4%).
  • Because deaths are not captured completely by NEISS-AIP, a surveillance system operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissio, patients who were dead on arrival or died in EDs were excluded from this study.
Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), July 2003; 52(26): 605-610