National estimates of noncanine bite and sting injuries treated in US Hospital Emergency Departments, 2001-2010

Wilderness Environ Med. 2014 Mar;25(1):14-23. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2013.08.007. Epub 2014 Jan 13.


Objective: Injuries resulting from contact with animals and insects are a significant public health concern. This study quantifies nonfatal bite and sting injuries by noncanine sources using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP).

Methods: The NEISS-AIP is an ongoing nationally representative surveillance system used to monitor all types and causes of injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments (EDs). Cases were coded by trained hospital coders using information from medical records on animal and insect sources of bite and sting injuries being treated. Data were weighted to produce national annualized estimates, percentages, and rates based on the US population.

Results: From 2001 to 2010 an estimated 10.1 million people visited EDs for noncanine bite and sting injuries, based on an unweighted case count of 169,010. This translates to a rate of 340.1 per 100,000 people (95% CI, 232.9-447.3). Insects accounted for 67.5% (95% CI, 45.8-89.2) of bite and sting injuries, followed by arachnids 20.8% (95% CI, 13.8-27.9). The estimated number of ED visits for bedbug bite injuries increased more than 7-fold-from 2156 visits in 2007 to 15,945 visits in 2010.

Conclusions: This study provides an update of national estimates of noncanine bite and sting injuries and describes the diversity of animal exposures based on a national sample of EDs. Treatment of nonfatal bite and sting injuries are costly to society. Direct medical and work time lost translates to an estimated $7.5 billion annually.

Keywords: ant; arachnid; bee; bites; emergency; hornet; insect; reptile; snake; stings; wasps.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Cats
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insect Bites and Stings / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Rodentia
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult