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June 22, 1984

The Incidence of Facial Injuries From Dog Bites

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

JAMA. 1984;251(24):3265-3267. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340480047026

The incidence of hospital-treated facial injuries caused by dog bites was determined from a population-based study involving Dane County, Wisconsin, hospitals during 1978 and 1979. Annual rates were shown to be 152 per 100,000 for ages 0 to 4 years, 128 per 100,000 for ages 5 to 9 years, and 62 per 100,000 for ages 10 to 14 years. Severe facial injuries from dog bites were found almost exclusively in children younger than 10 years. If these rates apply to children in the US population, then an estimated 44,000 facial injuries, 16,000 of them severe, caused by dog bites are seen in hospitals each year. The cumulative incidence of facial injuries from dog bites for children to age 14 years is 1.6%. Most of the published advice for preventing dog bite injuries to the face suggests parental diligence in keeping children away from dogs, but options such as choosing dogs less likely to bite children may be more effective.

(JAMA 1984;251:3265-3267)