Which factors increase the risk of infection from animal bite wounds?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018
  • Author: Alisha Perkins Garth, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Bites of the hand generally have a high risk for infection because of the relatively poor blood supply of many structures in the hand and anatomic considerations that make adequate cleansing of the wound difficult. In general, the better the vascular supply and the easier the wound is to clean (ie, laceration vs puncture), the lower the risk of infection.

A major concern in all bite wounds is subsequent infection caused by bacteria, and, more rarely, viruses. With regard to dog bites, at least 64 species of bacteria are found in the canine mouth, and many resulting infections are polymicrobial. [8, 9, 10]


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