Penetrating traumatic brain injury resulting from a cockerel attack: case report and literature review

  • Salah Maksoud
  • Aaron Lawson McLeanEmail author
  • Johannes Bauer
  • Falko Schwarz
  • Albrecht Waschke
Case Report


Traumatic brain injury is common in children and can lead to death or considerable, long-lasting morbidity. We present the case of a 10-month-old female child who presented after being attacked by a cockerel in a chicken coop. Following a seizure, an MRI scan revealed an intracerebral haemorrhage underlying a stab-type wound inflicted by the bird. Animal bite injuries are common worldwide but they rarely cause intracranial injuries. Domestic hens are rarely dangerous but can become defensive or aggressive during breeding periods or when protecting their territory. To date, only a handful of articles have reported on wounds inflicted by chicken beaks. Those reported were largely facial or ocular injuries. Infectious complications have also been encountered post-injury. This is to our knowledge the first report of a bird attack resulting in significant penetrating traumatic brain injury. Children should be cautioned by guardians to avoid unsupervised contact with chickens, particularly during breeding. Attacks to the neurocranium when they occur must be taken seriously and not treated as humorous or insignificant. Imaging appropriate to the child’s clinical condition should be pursued and appropriate intervention and antibiotic treatment should be implemented.


Animals Anti-bacterial agents Brain injuries Child Hematoma Skull fracture 


Authors’ contributions

The first draft of the manuscript was written by Salah Maksoud and Aaron Lawson McLean. The final draft was revised, reviewed and approved by all authors and all authors fulfilled the ICMJE authorship criteria.

Compliance with ethical standards

Informed consent for publication was obtained from the legal guardians.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria, educational grants, participation in speakers’ bureaus, membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership or other equity interest, expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryJena University Hospital – Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany

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