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Number of hospital visits related to dog bites has increased, study says

December 9, 2010 |  5:19 pm

DogBite

According to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of dog bites that result in a human's hospital visit has increased drastically in recent years.

The number of human bite victims who were admitted to a hospital for treatment went from 5,100 cases in 1993 to 9,500 in 2008, The Times' health blog, Booster Shots, reports.

More than 316,000 emergency room visits in 2008 resulted from dog bites, the agency said. That averages to about 866 emergency room visits by dog-bitten Americans per day, 26 of which resulted in hospitalization, on average.

But the statistics are in your favor if you're an urban dweller: The agency reported that there were four times as many emergency room visits related to dog bites in rural areas than in urban ones, and three times as many hospitalizations for residents of rural areas.

More than half of dog bite-related hospitalizations involved a procedure like wound debridement, stitches or skin grafting. Other common diagnoses in hospitalized dog-bite patients included skin infections and subcutaneous tissue infections.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

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