Objectives: Determining the public health burden from all dog bite injuries is hampered by the lack of comprehensive data sources. Available data in Alaska include the number of hospitalizations following dog bite injuries. While these data are skewed in severity, describing the epidemiology of dog bite injuries that resulted in hospitalization can suggest the overall community burden of these injuries.
Study design: Records of dog bite injuries reported to the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR) were
Methods: Cases were defined as patients with E-code 906.0 in the ATR from 1991-2002 who had been hospitalized for at least 1 day.
Results: From 1991-2002, 288 case-patients were hospitalized yielding an average annual rate of 3.9 per 100,000. The rate for Alaska Native people was 9.3 compared with a rate of 2.8 for non-Alaska Native people. The average days hospitalized was 4.6 for Alaska Native people compared with 2.5 for non-Alaska Native people. The highest rates occurred in more rural areas of northern and south-western Alaska.
Conclusions: Alaska hospitalization rates from dog bite injuries were higher overall compared with the entire U.S. and suggest that a heavy burden exists from all dog bite injuries in the state. Alaska Native people were disproportionately affected. Further study into the circumstances surrounding the injuries is needed to fully understand the injury disparities and to adapt and implement prevention programs.