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Bite injuries at Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania: A five year experience

PL Chalya
M Mchembe
JM Gilyoma
JB Mabula
AB Chandika
SE Mshana


Background: Bite injuries constitute a continuing challenge to trauma or general surgeons practicing in developing countries. Little work has been done on bite injuries in our setting. This study describes our experience in the management of bite injuries, outlining the etiological spectrum, injury patterns and results of management of bite injuries in our setting. Methods: A 5-year retrospective study of patients who were attended after sustained bite injury was conducted at Bugando medical Centre between October 2005 and September 2009. Data were collected from patients’ records and operation theatre registers and analyzed using SPSS software version 11.5. Research Ethics committee approval was sought before the study was commenced. Results: A total of 98 bite injury patients were recruited in the study. Males were 55 (56.1%) and females were 43 (43.9%). Majority of patients were in the age group of 21-30 years old. Human bites (58.2%) were the most common type of injury. Most injuries occurred in the upper limbs (29.6%). Bruises (41.8%) and punctured wounds (33.9%) were the most type of wounds sustained. Majority of patients (59.2%) were treated conservatively and the remaining patients (40.8%) underwent operative procedures. Wound infection was the most common complication and majority of patients had polymicrobial bacterial profile. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common organism isolated. Majority of patients had no permanent disability. The mean length of hospital stay was 7 days. Mortality rate was 0.8%. Conclusion: Bite injuries, though rare in our setting, are a unique form of trauma that is associated with high complication rates such as wound infections, tetanus, rabies, HIV transmission and limb amputations. Measures towards prevention and proper treatment are important in order to reduce morbidity and mortality resulting from this form of trauma. Similar study is recommended in a prospective setting to proper assess the magnitude of the problem.

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eISSN: 2073-9990