240621 Burden of Dog Bites Higher in Low SES Cities of Los Angeles County, 2009

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Mirna Ponce, MPH, MA , Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer Piron, MPH , Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Lisa V. Smith, MS, DrPH , Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Tony Kuo, MD, MSHS , Public Health/Family Medicine, County of Los Angeles/UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Karen Ehnert, DVM, MPVM , Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control;, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Historically, dog bites is highest among children ages 5-9. Less is known about the influence of other factors (i.e., economic hardship) on dog bite risk. Methods: The Los Angeles County Animal Bite Database (ABD) is a repository of all reportable bites in Los Angeles County (N=7,626). We analyzed reported ABD data to estimate the burden of dog bites in this county by urban hardship at the city-level. The urban hardship index was created using Census 2000 neighborhood data. Results: The majority of reported bites in the county occurred among children ages 5-9 (rate: 90 per 100,000 persons) and children ages 0-4 (rate: 78 per 100,000). Fifteen percent of children ages 5-9 and 30% of children ages 0-4 were bitten by dogs in the head and face. No reported cases of dog bites had rabies and 20% of all dog bites were treated with antibiotics. Forty-six percent of all dog bites were reported by medical institutions; not by individuals. When socioeconomic status and size of a city were considered, the number of dog bites were 3% higher in lower income communities (p<0.01, R2=0.28). Conclusions: The previously unknown association between urban hardship and number of dog bites suggest that this is a public health problem that disproportionately affects low-income areas and that its burden is likely underestimated in Los Angeles County due to a bias towards individuals with health insurance and healthcare access. Targeting high risk, low-income communities may be critical for reducing dog bites and related complications in this region.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe who may have higher risk for dog bites. Discuss how to tailor public health interventions aimed at preventing these animal bites.

Keywords: Veterinary Public Health, Injury Risk

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work for the Department of Public Health in Los Angeles County and recently conducted a study with Veterinary Public Health using the reporting system of dog bites in Los Angeles County.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.