The incidence of dog bites in New Zealand

N Z Med J. 1992 Feb 12;105(927):33-5.


The subject of dog bites has received considerable media attention in recent times. The incidence of fatal dog bites and those resulting in inpatient treatment was determined for New Zealand for the period 1979-88. The incidence of dog bite injuries resulting in treatment at Dunedin Hospital's accident and emergency department was also determined. No fatal events were identified. There has been a steady increase in the number of incidents requiring inpatient treatment from 54 in 1979 to 158 in 1988 resulting in an incidence rate of 4.8 per 100,000 population in 1988. Overall, males, children, and Maori, had higher rates than female, adults, and nonMaori respectively. Although injuries to the face were the most common, those to the lower limb tended to result in longer stays in hospital for treatment. A total of 182 dog bites were treated at Dunedin Hospital's accident and emergency department for the year ending 31 March 1990, giving an overall incidence rate of 175 per 100,000 population. It is estimated that for the entire country 5710 similar events are treated per annum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Bites and Stings / ethnology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Polynesia / ethnology
  • Regression Analysis