Original Research

Profile of dog bite injuries in patients presenting at Kimberley Hospital Complex’s emergency and gateway centres, 2015 to 2017

Nyitiba Ishaya, Talat Habib, Cornel van Rooyen, Wilhelm J. Steinberg
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 12, No 1 | a2301 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v12i1.2301 | © 2020 Nyitiba Ishaya, Talat Habib, Cornel van Rooyen, Wilhelm J. Steinberg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 2019 | Published: 21 May 2020

About the author(s)

Nyitiba Ishaya, Department of Family Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Talat Habib, Department of Family Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Cornel van Rooyen, Department of Biostatistics, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Wilhelm J. Steinberg, Department of Family Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Dog bite injuries in humans remain a public health problem. There is limited nationally representative data on the magnitude of the problem and the epidemiological profile of dog bite injuries in South Africa.

Aim: To describe the profile of dog bite injuries in patients presenting to Kimberley Hospital Complex (KHC) emergency and gateway centres. To determine the prevalence of dog bite injuries amongst all patients presenting to these centres and the compliance of mandatory notification of dog bites.

Setting: Kimberley Hospital Complex emergency and gateway centres.

Methods: A retrospective review of all dog bite cases who presented to KHC from August 2015 to July 2017. The total number of all patients who presented were taken into consideration for calculating the prevalence of dog bite cases.

Results: During the study period, 433 dog bite cases were identified out of 107 731 patients seen at emergency and gateway centres, giving a prevalence of 0.4%. Of all cases, 62.4% were male patients and 37.6% were female patients. Most affected age group was between 10 and 19 years (19.6%). Category II exposure type accounted for the majority of the cases (59.4%). Unvaccinated dogs were incriminated in 61.9% of cases. Stray dogs were responsible for 83.1% of all injuries. More than half of the cases (47.9%) were notified by the treating doctors.

Conclusion: Dog bite injuries in Kimberley were commonest in children and adolescents. The prevalence tended to decrease in adulthood with advancing age groups. Most bites resulted from unvaccinated stray dogs. Only about half of the cases were notified to the appropriate authorities. Prevalence of dog bite injuries amongst patients presenting at KHC resulted in the low rate of 0.4%. Awareness needs to be created amongst health care providers on the importance of notification of all exposure to rabies. More efforts are required at the prevention of dog bites in children and adolescents through stringent measures to limit the number of free-roaming dogs.


Keywords

prevalence; dog bite injury; profile; notification; Kimberley, Northern Cape

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