Patients with mammalian bite wounds account for hundreds of thousands of emergency department, urgent care center, and physician office visits in the United States each year. The types of wounds encountered by physicians range from insignificant scratches to life-threatening neck and facial injuries. Infectious complications of bite wounds are common, and the consequences of these infections are significant and sometimes disabling. This article reviews the infectious complications of cat, dog, and human bite wounds. The prevention of tetanus and rabies virus infection, the appropriate antimicrobial treatment of bacterial infections, and the frequent need for surgical consultation and intervention are emphasized.
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