Epidemiology of non-canine bite and sting injuries treated in U.S. Emergency Departments, 2001-2004
OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to estimate the burden of non-canine-related bite and sting injuries in the U.S.; describe the affected population, injury severity, and bite or sting source; and provide considerations for prevention strategies. METHODS: Data were from the 2001 through 2004 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) (a stratified probability sample of U.S. hospitals). Records included information about age, body part affected, cause, diagnosis, disposition, and gender. Narrative descriptions were coded for the source of the bite or sting. RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2004, an estimated 3.6 million people were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to non-canine bites and stings. Results detail the reported sources of the bite or sting, and examine sources by gender and age group. Common sources included bees (162,000 cases annually), spiders (123,000 cases annually), and cats (66,000 cases annually). Female adults were more likely than male adults to be treated for cat bites. Although rare, of the known venomous snakebites, more than half (58.4%) of the patients were hospitalized. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the public health burden of non-canine-related bite and sting injuries. More than 900,000 people were treated in emergency departments annually for non-canine bite or sting injuries, or roughly 1.7 injuries per minute. Treatment consumes substantial health-care resources. While preventing these injuries should be the first line of defense, resources could be conserved by educating the public about immediate first aid and when warning signs and symptoms indicate the need for professional or emergency care.