Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Oral Health. 2008 Apr 30;8:12. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-8-12.

Human bite injuries in the oro-facial region at the Muhimbili National Hospital, Tanzania.

Author information

Department of Oral Surgery and Oral Pathology, School of Dentistry, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.



Human bites in the maxillofacial region compromise function and aesthetics, resulting in social and psychological effects. There is paucity of information regarding human bite injuries in Tanzania. The aim of the study was to assess the occurrence, treatment modalities and prognosis of human bite injuries in the oro-facial region at the Muhimbili National Hospital Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


In a prospective study the details of patients with human bite injuries in the oro-facial region who attended at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of the Muhimbili National Hospital between January 2001 and December 2005 were recorded. Data included information on age, sex, site, duration of the injury at the time of reporting to hospital, reasons, details of treatment offered and outcome after treatment.


A total of 33 patients, 13 males and 20 females aged between 12 and 49 years with human bite injuries in the oro-facial region were treated. Thirty patients presented with clean uninfected wounds while 3 had infected wounds. The most (45.5%) frequently affected site was the lower lip. Treatment offered included thorough surgical cleansing with adequate surgical debridement and primary suturing. Tetanus prophylaxis and a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics were given to all the patients. In 90% of the 30 patients who were treated by suturing, the healing was uneventful with only 10% experiencing wound infection or necrosis. Three patients who presented with wounds that had signs of infection were treated by surgical cleansing with debridement, antibiotics and daily dressing followed by delayed primary suturing.


Most of the human bite injuries in the oro-facial region were due to social conflicts. Although generally considered to be dirty or contaminated they could be successfully treated by surgical cleansing and primary suture with a favourable outcome. Management of such injuries often need multidisciplinary approach.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center