In developing countries, there is underestimation of the importance of vertebrate animal bites and scratches in morbidity, mortality and loss of life in public health. In 2009, a study was done to determine characteristics of vertebrate animal bite injuries and their management in patients reporting at Kakamega Provincial General Hospital (PGH) in Western Kenya. A facility health based cross- sectional study was conducted. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to collect data from all patients reporting with animal bites to Kakamega PGH between 1st August and 31st October 2009. In addition, observation of the patient was done. Data were entered and analyzed in Epi info Version 3.4.3 software. A total of 207 bite patients were interviewed of which dog bites constituted 71.5%, human bites 16.4% followed by snake and cat bites. Twenty seven percent of dog bites were in children aged below 10 years. Ninety seven percent of the anti-rabies vaccine prescription were for animal bite wounds by cats and dogs, of which 63% ranged between 1-3 doses. Completion of anti- rabies vaccination regimen was significantly associated with age group 5-12 years (p<0.02). Kenya Expanded Program for Immunization (KEPI) was the main source of the vaccine while being bitten on the upper extremities was most common. Animal bites due to dogs are common in Kakamega, with children most affected. Low dose post-exposure vaccine prescriptions were commonly done at the hospital. Public health authorities should enhance community sensitization to reduce dog bites and also develop and disseminate animal bite management guidelines to health facilities.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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