The incidence of public sector hospitalisations due to dog bites in Australia 2001-2013

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2017 Aug;41(4):377-380. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12630. Epub 2017 Jul 16.


Objective: To estimate the incidence of dog bite-related injuries requiring public sector hospitalisation in Australia during the period 2001-13.

Methods: Summary data on public sector hospitalisations due to dog bite-related injuries with an ICD 10-AM W54.0 coding were sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare for the study period 2001-2013.

Results: In Australia, on average, 2,061 persons were hospitalised each year for treatment for dog bite injuries at an annual rate of 12.39 (95%CI 12.25-12.53) per 100,000 during 2001-13. The highest annual rates of 25.95 (95%CI 25.16-26.72) and 18.42 (95%CI 17.75-19.07) per 100,000 were for age groups 0-4 and 5-9 years respectively. Rates of recorded events increased over the study period and reached 16.15 (95%CI 15.78-16.52) per 100,000 during 2011-13.

Conclusion: Dog bites are a largely unrecognised and growing public health problem in Australia. Implications for public health: There is an increasing public sector burden of hospitalisations for injuries from dog bites in Australia.

Keywords: Public health; dog bite incidence in Australia; dog bite injury; dog bites; hospitalisations from dog bites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Sector*
  • Young Adult