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Wilderness Environ Med. 2008 Spring;19(1):7-14. doi: 10.1580/07-WEME-OR-111.1.

Animal bites and stings reported by United States poison control centers, 2001-2005.

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North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, NC 27699-1912, USA.



There is not a single data source for information on the extent of nonfatal injuries inflicted by animals. Although individuals bitten or stung by animals may not visit a health care provider, they may call poison control centers (PCCs) for information. These centers are one source of information on the frequency of occurrence of injuries from animals.


The American Association of Poison Control Centers compiles an annual report of exposure calls to various agents, including chemicals, medications, animal bites and stings, plants, and use of antivenoms from their network of PCCs. An estimate of the severity of exposure for each call is also determined. This review examines summary data on different species of animal bites and stings reported by PCCs from 2001 to 2005.


From 2001 to 2005 there were 472 760 reports of animal bites and stings, an average of 94,552 per year. There was a trend noted for increasing use of antivenom over this period. Twenty-seven deaths were recorded, most from snakebites.


Poison control centers are a source of information for health care workers on management of animal bites and stings. The database maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers is another source of information on the magnitude and public health impact of injuries from animals.

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