An epidemiologic study of the human bite

Public Health Rep. Nov-Dec 1979;94(6):514-21.


The 892 human bites reported to the New York City Department of Health in 1977 were analyzed by time, place, and the victim's characteristics. The bites appeared to have a seasonality, increasing in March and exceeding the mean monthly average through August. The bite rate for the entire city, 10.7 per 100,000 population, was exceeded in 5 of the 10 Brooklyn health districts; one of these districts reported a rate of 60.9 human bites per 100,000 population. Most of the bites with identifiable locations occurred indoors (63.2 percent). In 72.8 percent of the bite episodes in which the activities surrounding them were known, these activities were aggressive in nature. Males exceeded females as bite victims in all age groups except those 10-20 and 55-60 years. Bites of the upper extremity accounted for 61.2 percent of the total bites. Left-sided bites exceeded right-sided, except for the hand. In frequency of reported occurrence, the human bite ranks third, after the dog bite and the cat bite. Human bites may be a useful indicator of antisocial behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Bites, Human / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors