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Epidemiology and classification of dog bite injuries to the face: A prospective study of 108 patients.

BACKGROUND: Dog bites are considered to be septic injuries, and their location on the face, with its highly symbolic topography and important social functions, is particularly pertinent. In addition to specific medical aspects, such as their psychological impact, they are also of relevance in terms of child protection measures. In light of the far-reaching importance of this subject, we were prompted to carry out a prospective study, over 13 years, to identify risk factors. Our results highlight specific risk factors, and they may hence assist with the implementation of concrete primary prevention measures against dog bites.

METHODS: An information sheet was prepared and filled out during the intake of patients who had been bitten on the face. Data analysis was performed using Epi Info Version 6.04dfr software to find a correlation between the factors studied and the dog bite to the face.

RESULTS: Dog bites to the face represented 0.83% of the emergency admissions to our service. A considerable majority of these involved children, with 68.5% of patients <16 years of age, and 33.3% of patients aged between 2 and 5 years. The wounds were multiple and of variable severity. The type of dog involved was frequently a German Shepherd. Strikingly, 91.3% of bites had occurred in a single-parent environment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study has determined that the fundamental factors that increase the probability of a dog bite to the face are as follows: the child being 2-5 years old, a single-parent context, and involvement of a German Shepherd-type dog.

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