Human bite as a weapon of assault
Background: Human bite is a growing public health concern. It may be seen in both victims and aggressors following assault. Effects of human bite are both social and medical.
Objectives: This study aims to determine the prevalence and characteristics of assault-related human bite injuries in Enugu, Nigeria.
Methods: In this prospective study, an objective structured questionnaire was administered to assault victims attending the Forensic unit of ESUT Teaching Hospital between November 2013 and October 2014. Obtained data was analyzed.
Results: Out of 219 patients presenting with clinical injuries, 29 (13.2%) sustained human bite wounds. Average age was 32.2±11.30 years and 34.3±12.4 years for victims and biters respectively. Females were more involved than males. Severe injuries resulted more in bites involving females than males. Contusion (47.6%) and laceration (31.0%) were the commonest. Upper limbs were mostly affected (44.7%) followed by the face (29.0%). Romance-related injuries affected breasts and thighs. Most incidents (62.1%) occurred within home/living quarters. Most biters were known to their victims.
Conclusion: Human bite is a common outcome of assault and so should be anticipated in cases of assault. Patterns of location of bites seem related to nature of crime.
Keywords: Human bite, teeth, weapon, assault, victim, biter.