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Animal bite surveillance and treatment for animal bite infections, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania – 2018

Mason, Madeline (2019) Animal bite surveillance and treatment for animal bite infections, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania – 2018. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Background: Animal bites are an important public health problem as they can result in injury and infection. Animal bites are treated prophylactically for infection with antibiotics, tetanus vaccinations, and/or rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if indicated. The objective of this surveillance report was to compile animal bite data for 2018 from bites reported to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) and to summarize animal bite treatment for bites reported in 2018 and previous years.
Methods: Data from bite reports were extracted from an Oracle database to an Excel file. SAS was used to remove duplicate records and obtain descriptive statistics. Population data estimates were obtained from the U.S. Census to calculate bite incidence rates per 100,000 population. ArcMapTM was used to display bite incidence rates by zip code.
Results: In 2018, 1,973 bites were reported to ACHD. Dogs (74.9%) and cats (22.2%) made up the majority of animals involved in bites. The most common wild animals involved were bats (0.7%) and raccoons (0.4%). Bites were reported more frequently during the summer months and were more likely to involve the upper extremities (52%). The age groups 25-29 years and 30-34 years had the highest bite incidence rates. Females accounted for 58% of bite victims. The most common bite incident types were playing with the animal, the animal got spooked, and breaking up a fight. Of 70 animals tested for rabies, three were positive (feral cat, bat, fox). All persons exposed to these rabid animals received rabies PEP. Of all bite victims, 58.3% had their wound cleansed, 61.7% were prescribed antibiotics, and 28.6% received a tetanus shot. Augmentin was the most common antibiotic prescribed to victims. Of 103 victims that received the rabies PEP, 19.4% did so unnecessarily. Animal bite treatment was similar to previous years, although there was a decline in antibiotic prescriptions and tetanus vaccinations from 2015 to 2018.
Conclusion: Animal bites remain an important public health problem in Allegheny County, PA, so continued surveillance is needed to mitigate rabies risk. ACHD and medical providers should continue to follow animal bite protocol and make proper recommendations for rabies PEP to victims.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancyglynnn@edc.pitt.eduglynnn@edc.pitt.eduUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMertz, Kristenkristen.mertz@alleghenycounty.usUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberPitetti, Raymondpitettir@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 12 December 2019
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 56
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 17:42
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2021 06:15


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