Bite Busters : How to Deal With Dog Attacks

Dogs bite 4.5 million annually

Associated Press, 01/06/98 17:24

CHICAGO (AP) - Dog bites man. Often.

Nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States, sending 334,000 victims to hospital emergency rooms. That's more ER visits than injuries from skateboards, baby walkers and in-line skates combined.

Dog bites kill about 20 people a year.

And dogs really do seem to prefer biting males.

The study was conducted by researchers who were at the University of Pittsburgh and are now at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Pittsburgh. They analyzed data from emergency rooms nationwide.

The results, culled from data for 1992-94, are published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Among the highlights:

- Children were the most frequent targets. Victims ranged in age from infants to 91; the average age was 15.

- The highest incidence was among boys ages 5 to 9, with 57,580 emergency room visits during the three-year period, for a rate of 60.7 dog bite cases per 10,000 people.

- Of nine activities examined, only baseball and softball injuries accounted for more emergency room visits than dog bites: 404,364 a year. In-line skating accounted for 75,994 ER visits, baby walkers 28,000 and skatesboards 25,486.

- The total annual payment for emergency room treatment for dog bites was estimated at $102.4 million.

© Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company

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