JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Microbiology of animal bite wound infections.

The microbiology of animal bite wound infections in humans is often polymicrobial, with a broad mixture of aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms. Bacteria recovered from infected bite wounds are most often reflective of the oral flora of the biting animal, which can also be influenced by the microbiome of their ingested prey and other foods. Bacteria may also originate from the victim's own skin or the physical environment at the time of injury. Our review has focused on bite wound infections in humans from dogs, cats, and a variety of other animals such as monkeys, bears, pigs, ferrets, horses, sheep, Tasmanian devils, snakes, Komodo dragons, monitor lizards, iguanas, alligators/crocodiles, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, prairie dogs, swans, and sharks. The medical literature in this area has been made up mostly of small case series or case reports. Very few studies have been systematic and are often limited to dog or cat bite injuries. Limitations of studies include a lack of established or inconsistent criteria for an infected wound and a failure to utilize optimal techniques in pathogen isolation, especially for anaerobic organisms. There is also a lack of an understanding of the pathogenic significance of all cultured organisms. Gathering information and conducting research in a more systematic and methodical fashion through an organized research network, including zoos, veterinary practices, and rural clinics and hospitals, are needed to better define the microbiology of animal bite wound infections in humans.

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