Animal attacks are a cause of human injuries and fatalities worldwide. Up to five million people in the U.S. are attacked by dogs each year. The frequency of animal attacks varies with geographical location. In the United States, a person is more likely to be killed by a domesticated dog than they are to die from being hit by lightning according to the National Safety Council.
Animal attacks have been identified as a major public health problem. "Unprovoked attacks occur when the animal approaches and attacks a person(s) who is the principle attractant, for example, predation on humans..." In 1997, it was estimated that up to 2 million animal bites occur each year in the United States. Injuries caused by animal attacks result in thousands of fatalities worldwide every year. All causes of death are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year. Medical injury codes are used to identify specific cases. The World Health Organization uses identical coding, though it is unclear whether all countries keep track of fatalities caused by animals. Though animals, excluding some tigers, do not regularly hunt humans, there is concern that these incidents are " ...bad for many species 'public image'.”
List of most fatal animals
- Mosquitoes kill an average of 1 million humans per year mostly from malaria
- Snakes kill an average of 50,000 humans per year from snakebite
- Dogs kill an average of 25,000 humans per year from dog bites causing rabies
- Tsetse flies kill an average of 10,000 humans per year from African trypanosomiasis
- Assassin Bugs kill an average of 10,000 humans per year from Chagas disease
- Freshwater Snails kill an average of 10,000 humans per year from Schistosomiasis
- Scorpions kill an average of 3,250 humans per year from Venom
- Ascaris roundworms kill an average of 2,500 humans per year from malnutrition, tissue problems and bowel obstruction
- Tapeworms kill an average of 2,000 humans per year from infection
- Crocodiles kill an average of 1,000 humans per year from crocodile attack
- Hippopotamus kill an average of 500 humans per year from attacks
- Elephants kill an average of 500 humans per year from attacks
- Lions kill an average of 250 humans per year from attack
- African buffalo kill an average of 200 humans per year from attacks
- Deer kill an average of 130 humans per year from deer–vehicle collisions and cars swerving off the road
- Bees kill an average of 53 humans per year from bee stings
- Jellyfish kill an average of 40 humans per year from stings
- Ants kill an average of 30 humans per year from venom
- Leopards kill an average of 29 humans per year from leopard attack
- Horses kill an average of 20 humans per year from animal attack
- Wolves kill an average of 10 humans per year from wolf attack
- Sharks kill an average of 5 humans per year shark attack
- Alligators kill an average of 1 human per year from animal attack
Injuries and infections
Bite injuries are often the consequences of an animal attack, including those instances when a human attacks another human. Human bites are the third most frequent type of bite after dog and cat bites. Dog bites are commonplace, with children the most commonly bitten and the face the most common target. In 1936, amputation was required in one third of cases in which treatment was delayed for 24 hours or longer.
Epidemiology and treatment
Animal bites are the most common form of injury from animal attacks. The US estimated annual count of animal bites is 250,000 human bites, 1 to 2 million dog bites, 400,000 cat bites, and 45,000 bites from snakes. Bites from skunks, horses, squirrels, rats, rabbits, pigs, and monkeys may be up to 1 percent of bite injuries. Pet ferrets attacks that were unprovoked have caused serious facial injuries. Non-domesticated animals, though assumed to be more common especially as a cause of rabies infection, make up less than one percent of reported bite wounds. When a person is bitten, it is more likely to occur on the right arm, most likely due to defensive reactions when the victims uses her or his dominant arm. Estimates are that three quarters of bites are located on the arms or legs of humans. Bites to the face of humans constitutes only 10 percent of the total. Two thirds of bite injuries in humans are suffered by children aged ten and younger. The subsequent treatment for those who have been attacked (if they survive) depends on the injuries. Though trauma may be addressed first, subsequent infections are also treated with appropriate antibiotics.
Up to three fourths of dog bites happen to those younger than 20 years-old. In the United States, the costs associated with dog bites are estimated to be more than $1 billion annually. The age groups that suffer most from dog bites are children 5 to 9 years-old. Often, bites go unreported and no medical treatment given. As many as one percent of pediatric emergency room visits are for treatment for animal bites. This is more frequent during the summer months. Up to five percent of children receiving emergency care for dog bites are then admitted to the hospital. Bites typically occur in the late afternoon and early evening. Girls are bitten more frequently by cats than they are by dogs. Boys are bitten by dogs two times more often than girls.
Medical codes for animal attacks
Injuries resulting from encounters with animals occur with sufficient frequency to require the use of medical codes by clinicians and insurance companies to document such encounters. The ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes are used for the purpose of clearly identifying diseases, their causes, injuries in the United States. Clinicians use these codes to quantify the medical condition and its causes and to bill insurance companies for the treatment required as a result of encounters with animals.
|W53||Contact with rodent|
|W54||Contact with dog|
|W55||Contact with other mammals|
|W56||Contact with nonvenomous marine animal|
|W57||Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other nonvenomous arthropods|
|W58||Contact with crocodile or alligator|
|W59||Contact with other nonvenomous reptiles|
|W61||Contact with birds (domestic) (wild)|
|W62||Contact with nonvenomous amphibians|
- 2010 Sharm el-Sheikh shark attacks
- 2013 New Brunswick python attack
- Fatal dog attacks in the United States
- Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916
- Kali River goonch attacks
- Kenton Joel Carnegie wolf attack
- List of fatal alligator attacks in the United States
- List of fatal bear attacks in North America
- List of fatal cougar attacks in North America
- List of fatal snake bites in the United States
- List of fatal shark attacks in the United States
- List of shark attacks in South African territorial waters
- List of wolf attacks in North America
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Media related to Animal attacks at Wikimedia Commons