n South African Medical Journal - Treatment and outcome of unusual animal bite injuries in young children : research
|Article Title||Treatment and outcome of unusual animal bite injuries in young children : research|
|© Publisher:||Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG)|
|Journal||South African Medical Journal|
|Affiliations||1 Erasmus University, Netherlands, 2 Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital, Netherlands, 3 University of Cape Town and 4 Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital|
|Publication Date||Feb 2016|
|Pages||206 - 209|
Background. Animal bites are a major cause of preventable traumatic injuries.
Objectives. To provide more epidemiological information on animal bites, and assist in increasing awareness of the problem.
Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed including children aged >13 years presenting with bite injuries (excluding dog and human bites) to the trauma unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, over a 25-year period.
Results. Two hundred and thirteen children were eligible to be entered into the study. The median age was 2.9 years (range 1.2 - 6.5), with boys slightly predominating (54.9%). Most (74.6%) of the bite injuries were inflicted by mammals, the majority (64.8) of mammalian bites being rat bites. The proportions of boys and girls in the age group 0 - 4 years bitten by rats significantly differed from the proportions in the age group >4 years (p=0.039). In the age group 0 - 4 years more girls suffered rat bites, while more boys were bitten in the age group >4 years. Of 91 rat bites, 81 (89.0%) occurred inside the house. The hands (43.9%) and the head/face/neck region (39.0%) were most affected. The underdeveloped suburbs of Philippi, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha in Cape Town represented a disproportionate number (41.6%) of rat bites.
Conclusions. There is a relationship between poverty, unemployment, poor housing, informal settlements and rodent infestation. These high-risk populations need to be the target for government rat eradication programmes.
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