Epidemiology and Public Health Aspects of Animal Biting in Shush County, Khuzestan Province, Iran
BackgroundAnimal bites, especially dog bites, are common health problems which are rarely addressed. It is estimated that 15 million people are bitten by animals worldwide annually. Diseases caused by animal bites are problematic matters in the world as well as in Iran. The main disease caused by animal bites is rabies. Rabies is a fatal acute viral disease causing inclusive symptoms in the central nervous system in domestic and wild carnivores. Humans and other warm-blooded mammals are often randomly involved with an infected animal bite..
ObjectivesDue to the increasing number of cases of animal bites in the County of Shush (southwestern Iran) because of its geographical status as a farming-animal husbandry region as well as the residents that are more exposed to animal bites, this study was designed to investigate the epidemiology and prevalence rate of animal bites in this county during 2000-2004..
Materials And MethodsIn this descriptive cross-sectional research, a particular questionnaire was filled out for all the cases. The questionnaire included questions about demographic and epidemiologic characters such as, occupation, sex, age, biting animal type, treatment type, bite site, etc. Data analysis through SPSS and Excel software was performed and the percentages and mean of statistical figures were determined. Finally, descriptive statistics was used in the forms of tables and graphs to summarize the data..
ResultsFindings of this study indicated that the average prevalence of animal bites during the above five years was 1.3 per 1000 population and there was an increased trend in the prevalence rate of animal bite in this county. During these five years, a total number of 1300 cases of animal bites were recorded: males 971 (74.7%) and females 329 (25.3%). The numbers of animal bites in rural and urban areas were 1061 (81.6%) and 239 (18.4%), respectively. Therefore, a 4.4-time rate of animal bites was recorded for rural areas. Moreover, the majority of animal bites (31.9%) were determined in the age group of 10-20. In terms of employment, students with 390 cases (30%) comprised the highest work-related group. From the viewpoint of bite site, the most prevalent biting site was feet with 907 cases (69.7%), followed by hands with 236 (18.2%) cases, while only one bite was recorded on the neck area. Totally, 95.8% of bites were confirmed to be applied by dogs; however, cats were responsible for only 3.3% of bites. During the five years of the study, 155 stray dogs in rural areas and 84 in urban areas were hunted..
ConclusionsDue to the demographic status of Shush County, its high rural population engaged in agriculture and livestock farming, keeping dogs at home for job demands and a great percentage of animal bites among students, educational programs for students in schools and for farmers should be prioritized regarding first aid for prevention of animal biting..
Archives of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume:9 Issue:4, 2015
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