Background Each year, dog bites account for several thousands emergency visits in France and numerous hospitalisations. Their consequences in terms of injuries are more severe among children than adults. There are relatively few surveys on dog bites in France.
Objective To establish the link between the severity of the lesions resulting from dog bites and the characteristics of the biting dogs.
Method An epidemiological interdisciplinary survey was set up on 1 May 2009, with the participation of epidemiologists, medical doctors and veterinarians specialised in dog behaviour. It is implemented in emergency departments of eight voluntary hospitals, where medical data are collected during 1 year, supplemented by veterinary data collected by phone on the characteristics of the dog and the attack. Preliminary results: From May to August 2009, 193 dog bites were reported. Children under 15 years represented 35% of the victims. Open wounds were superficial in 60% of the lesions, often located on the upper extremities (56%). The lesions of the head were 2.2 more frequent among the children under 10 years of age than among other victims. Nearly half (45%) of those who responded to the follow-up questionnaire reported sequelae one month after the bite. Most of them (85%) were esthetical. The most severe lesions were not always committed by big dogs.
Perspectives The final results of this survey will provide a better understanding of the risk factors of the bites depending on the dog and human behaviours, and lead to adapt prevention actions.
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