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Patient Study

Suspected dog bite associated HIV horizontal transmission in Swaziland

Ganizani Mlawanda
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 5, No 1 | a440 | DOI: | © 2013 Ganizani Mlawanda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2012 | Published: 27 August 2013

About the author(s)

Ganizani Mlawanda, Department of Family Medicine, University of Stellenbosch and Royal Swaziland Sugar Company Medical Services, Simunye Hospital, Swaziland, South Africa


Background: Dog bites may lead to transmission of bacteria and viruses over and above tetanus and rabies. Theoretically human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C may be transmitted after dog bites where transfer of blood from one victim to another occur in clinical practice HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are not considered when making treatment decisions, nor adequate patient history taken to consider all potential risks after dog bites in succession.

Objective: To present case of suspected HIV transmission after dog bites in close succession involving two HIV sero-discordant victims.

Management and outcome: HIV rapid test and/or HIV Ribonucleic acid (RNA) polymerasechain reaction (PCR) results for the victim(s) at presentation and a month later.

Results: Two night patrol guards presented to casualty after dog bites in close succession by the same dog. They were managed according to the dog bite protocol. Thinking out of the box, the first victim was found to be HIV positive by rapid test whilst the second victim was negative based on both HIV rapid test and HIV RNA PCR. One month after the dogbites, a case of HIV sero-conversion was confirmed in the second victim despite post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Discussion: Although an isolated case, shouldn’t clinicians re-think the significance of HIV transmission after animal bites where there is repeated blood exposure in several people insuccession?

Conclusion: Clinicians should be aware of the potential of HIV, Hepatitis B and C transmission, when faced with dog bites in succession.



Dog bite; multiple victims; HIV sero-conversion; HIV horizontal transmission


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