Dog bite injuries

N Z Med J. 2004 Sep 10;117(1201):U1043.


Aims: To describe the extent of the dog bite problem in New Zealand for the period 1989 to 2001.

Methods: Fatalities and cases requiring public-hospital treatment identified from the New Zealand Health Information Service databases.

Results: There was one fatality and 3119 hospitalisations, an average of 240 per year. Those most at risk were males and children under 9 years of age. The incidence rate of dog bites has continued to increase from that reported previously. There has been a increase in recent years but it is difficult to determine whether this is real effect or an artefact of coding.

Conclusions: Dog bite injuries represent a significant public health problem in New Zealand. Ongoing monitoring is required to determine if dog control policies are having the intended effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology