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A Community based cross sectional study of dog bites in children in a rural district of Tamil Nadu

Murugan Venkatesan, Amol Dongre, Kalaiselvan Ganapathy.

Background: Worldwide dog bites are becoming a significant public health problem and the annual frequency of dog bite injuries in children is estimated to be 22 per 1000 children of which less than half of them are reported in medical facilities.

Objective: To study the period prevalence of dog bites in children, its risk factors and treatment seeking behavior.

Materials and Methods: The present cross sectional study was conducted in field practicing areas of rural health centre covering 4150 households in 34 villages involving 5841 children. Data was collected by trained medical interns and social workers. Collected data was entered and analyzed using EPI_INFO software (3.5.3).

Result: The period prevalence of dog bites episodes in last one year is 17.9 per 1000 children. Most of bites happened in male children (51.5%), less than 10 years of age (56%), and children below poverty line (80%). Almost 78% of bites are unprovoked and the most common place of bites is in and around the house (70%). The most common site of bite is lower limb (53.6%) followed by upper limb (27.6%). The most common treatment source for bites is primary health centre followed by traditional faith healers. Almost 67% of wounds belonging to class 3 wounds but only 4% of dog bite victims received immunoglobulins.

Conclusion: Period prevalence of dog bites is high and it is common in children belonging to poor socioeconomic conditions. In a country with very high population of unvaccinated dogs, health education program focusing on prevention of dog bites, correct methods of local wound treatment, vaccine, and rabies immunoglobulinís are needed.

Key words: Children, dog bites, anti rabies vaccine

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