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March 1, 1985

Dog Bites

JAMA. 1985;253(9):1263. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350330057018

To the Editor.—  The article by Karlson1 did not purport to be more than an incidence report, and I fully agree with her statement that "more investigative research must be done." This article initially emphasized that facial trauma secondary to dog bites is severe, but later acknowledged that the survey reflected "the minimum estimates of the incidence of facial injuries from dog bites," because untreated and nonhospital-treated victims were not included. Perhaps the author could be less dogmatic (pun intended) and appreciate that a relatively small percentage of dog bites inflict "severe" facial injury. Parrish et al2 reported that only 4% of dog bites involving the head, face, and neck were "severe," while 73% were considered "minor." Callaham3 observed that facial wounds from dog bites were associated with only a 4% infection rate, while hand wounds had a 28% rate. Clearly, facial trauma is a matter of concern,