UK hospital admissions due to animal bites rise

PHOTO: UK hospital admissions due to animal bites rise

LONDON - Beware of the biting dog, pig and bedbug as hospital admissions resulting from animal-related injuries are on the rise in England, according to provisional figures released by the National Health Service (NHS) Information Centre.

Injuries from dogs caused 6,120 hospital admissions in England from May 2010 to April 2011, representing a five per cent increase from the previous year.

In April 2011 there were a total of 640 hospital admissions due to injuries from dogs - the highest number since May 2009.

The report relates to more serious injuries which result in admissions to hospital, and not cases dealt with solely in A&E.

"Our statistics show that the summer is a seasonal hotspot for admissions to hospital for injuries caused by dogs; coupled with a five per cent rise overall for such admissions between the latest and previous 12 month period," Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre chief executive, said in a statement.

"However, the same time-frame also saw an increase in admissions for injuries inflicted by other creatures - from bugs and horses to cows and pigs," he said.

Injuries sustained as a result of being bitten or struck by"other mammals", such as pigs, horses and cows, rose by eight per cent compared to the previous 12 months.

Figures also revealed that there was a 19 per cent rise in admissions caused by bites or stings from non-venomous arthropods, which includes bedbugs, mosquitoes and fleas.

"It is perhaps surprising to some that a bite or sting from a non-venomous insect can be so severe it can result in admission to hospital - but clearly this was the case for some 3,620 admissions in the 12 months to April 2011," Straughan said.

London Strategic Health Authority has the highest rate of admissions for these insect related injuries, 27 per 100,000 admissions, making an admission for this type of injury about as likely as an admission for a dog injury.