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Sensitivities of three county health department surveillance systems for child-related dog bites: 261 cases (2000)

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  • 1 Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 2 Present address is the Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250.
  • | 3 Georgia Division of Public Health, 2 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
  • | 4 Georgia Division of Public Health, 2 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.
  • | 5 Present address is the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association, 2965 Flowers Rd S, Ste 105, Atlanta, GA 30341.
  • | 6 Georgia Division of Public Health, 2 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.
  • | 7 Present address is the CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30333.
  • | 8 Georgia Division of Public Health, 2 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.
  • | 9 Present address is the Georgia Division of Public Health, 292 E Cherry St, Ste 3, Jesup, GA 31546.

Abstract

Objectives—To determine incidence of child-related dog bites and sensitivities of 3 county health department dog-bite surveillance systems.

Design—Retrospective study.

Study Population—Child-related dog-bite data obtained from surveillance systems of 3 counties in Georgia in the year 2000.

Procedure—To characterize the sensitivity of health department dog-bite surveillance systems, 9 other potential sources of dog-bite records that matched records by victim name, age, gender, and incident date were evaluated. The number of reported bites and the most productive sources for identifying additional cases were determined. The Chandra Sekar- Deming capture-recapture method was used to estimate the number of unreported bites, and estimates of dog-bite incidence rates were made.

Results—40, 36, and 185 dog bites were reported in the 3 counties, respectively. Capture-recapture calculations estimated an additional 9, 5, and 128 dog bites in these counties, respectively. Local health departments recorded 45.5% to 82.5% of dog bites. Local hospital emergency departments, police departments, and a rabies-testing laboratory received additional reports. Among these data sources, local hospital emergency department records were the best source for identifying additional cases.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dog bites are a preventable cause of childhood injuries, and surveillance is a critical tool for tracking childhood dog bites in the community. Counties should use combined data from local health departments, local hospital emergency departments, and police departments to implement or revise dog-bite prevention programs (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1680–1683)

Abstract

Objectives—To determine incidence of child-related dog bites and sensitivities of 3 county health department dog-bite surveillance systems.

Design—Retrospective study.

Study Population—Child-related dog-bite data obtained from surveillance systems of 3 counties in Georgia in the year 2000.

Procedure—To characterize the sensitivity of health department dog-bite surveillance systems, 9 other potential sources of dog-bite records that matched records by victim name, age, gender, and incident date were evaluated. The number of reported bites and the most productive sources for identifying additional cases were determined. The Chandra Sekar- Deming capture-recapture method was used to estimate the number of unreported bites, and estimates of dog-bite incidence rates were made.

Results—40, 36, and 185 dog bites were reported in the 3 counties, respectively. Capture-recapture calculations estimated an additional 9, 5, and 128 dog bites in these counties, respectively. Local health departments recorded 45.5% to 82.5% of dog bites. Local hospital emergency departments, police departments, and a rabies-testing laboratory received additional reports. Among these data sources, local hospital emergency department records were the best source for identifying additional cases.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dog bites are a preventable cause of childhood injuries, and surveillance is a critical tool for tracking childhood dog bites in the community. Counties should use combined data from local health departments, local hospital emergency departments, and police departments to implement or revise dog-bite prevention programs (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1680–1683)