African Journal of
Medical and Health Sciences

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Med. Health Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2384-5589
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMHS
  • Start Year: 2017
  • Published Articles: 78

Incidence and Pattern of Dog Bite Injuries Treated in the Emergency Room of a Teaching Hospital South East Nigeria

Njoku Isaac Omoke
  • Njoku Isaac Omoke
  • Department of Surgery, Ebonyi State University, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki 480001, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar
Ndubuisi Onu Chukwueloka Onyemaechi
  • Ndubuisi Onu Chukwueloka Onyemaechi
  • Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 January 2018
  •  Accepted: 01 May 2018
  •  Published: 30 June 2018


Background: Dog bite injury treated in the emergency room varies from and within sub regions in pattern and potential risk of transmission of rabies. This variation has implications in its morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence and pattern of dog bite injuries treated in a teaching hospital emergency room setting of a developing country.

Patients and Methods: This was a retrospective study of the entire patients with dog bite injury treated in the emergency room of Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki from January 2006 to December 2015.

Results: Dog bite injury necessitated visit in 74 patients with an incidence of 2 per 1000 emergency room attendances, and a male to female ratio of 1:1.1. The mean age of the patients was 25.5 ± 1.87 years, and peak age group incidence was 5–9 years. Lower extremity was involved in 77.5% of the injuries, and buttock was the predominant site of injury in 0–4 years old. Fifty‑one (68.9%) owned dogs and 23 (31.1%) stray dogs were involved in the attack. There was unprovoked attack in 81.1% of cases, and 51 (68.9%) sustained Grade II injury. Twenty‑eight (37.8%) of the dogs had anti‑rabies vaccination. Fifty‑four (73%) patients had no prehospital care while 64 (86.5%) received postexposure anti‑rabies vaccine. Majority of the patients 73 (98.7%) recovered fully. One (1.4%) patient that presented with clinical rabies self‑discharged against medical advice.

Conclusion: The incidence of dog bite injury is within worldwide range though the female gender bias is unprecedented. We recommend preventive strategies based on the observed pattern and improvement in the rate of prehospital care and higher coverage of anti‑rabies vaccination of dogs.

Keywords: Dog bite, emergency room, injury, Nigeria, rabies.