Clinica Pediatrica, IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”, Università di Trieste
*SC Malattie Infettive, Azienda Universitario - Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti, Trieste
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Key words: Dog bite, Infection, Rabies, Pasteurella multocida, Capnocytophaga canimorsus
It is frequent that dogs bite. Victims are children in 42% of cases, usually boys. One child out of five is bitten once in his life. Quite often victims know dog owner and fatal attacks usually happen in owner property; seldom dogs are stray. Children under 5 years are commonly bitten at head or neck whereas children over 15 are usually bitten at extremities (45% right upper limb). More aggressive dogs are Pit bull and Rottweiler (responsible of 70% of all dog bite related deaths). Dog bite injury could range from limited abrasions to deep lacerations and tissue avulsion. Only 3 to 10% of dog bites carry infections, which are usually polimicrobic. Characteristic pathogens are Pasteurella multocida (66% of dog bites) and Capnocytophaga canimorsus. Infection could remain limited to site of inoculation or be disseminated, ranging from abscesses to arthritis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis and even meningitis. Prophylactic antibiotics should be administered only in high risk subjects. The more dangerous infection transmitted by dog bites remains rabies, that is nowadays limited by intensive vaccination of domestic pets and other preventive measures.
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