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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Aug;32(8):971-6. doi: 10.1007/s10096-013-1840-x. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Dog and cat bite-associated infections in children.

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Pediatric Clinic 1, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via Commenda 9, 20122, Milan, Italy.


Millions of people throughout the world are bitten by animals each year. About 90 % of the bites are caused by dogs and cats, and infections are the most common complications. As children are the most frequently bitten subjects, pediatricians should provide parents with everything they need to know in order to confront the problem. However, this does not seem to be case and, as the treatment of bite wounds is frequently inappropriate and delayed, the risk of acute infection and sequelae is increased. The main aim of this review is to discuss the epidemiology, microbiology, and clinical characteristics of infections due to dog and cat bites in children, and suggest the best approach to their management. Analysis of the published literature shows that prompt treatment is necessary in order to reduce the risk of infection. The therapeutic measures include wound washing, specific prophylaxis (i.e., tetanus and/or rabies), and antibiotics in the case of immunocompromised patients or deep wounds (particularly if there is evidence of edema or crushing), facial bites, or any wound over a tendon or bone.

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