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Incidence and characteristics of dog bites in three remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland, Australia, 2006-2011

West, Caryn, Rouen, Christopher
Journal of veterinary behavior 2019 v.31 pp. 17-21
alcohols, animal welfare, bites and stings, death, dogs, gender, health services, monitoring, public health, Queensland
Dog bites are a worldwide public health concern that can cause serious injury, psychological trauma, disease and death while also affecting animal welfare. This study analyzes dog bite injury data from a clinical file audit performed at Primary Health Care Clinics in three remote Indigenous communities within Far North Queensland, Australia, over the period from 1st January, 2006, to 31st December, 2011. There were 229 dog bite presentations involving 201 individuals. An overall incidence rate of 16.5 per 1,000 population was found across the communities. Incidence rates were highest in 35- to 44-year-olds, did not vary with gender of victim, varied between communities, and significantly decreased after the strengthening of alcohol restrictions midway through the study period. Development of a specific dog bite monitoring system through the Primary Health Care Clinics could enhance knowledge of human-dog interactions, assist in the development of mitigation strategies to reduce dog bites, and determine their effectiveness.