Cases reported "Bites and Stings"

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1/38. Preventing human rabies before and after exposure.

    rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Recently, most human deaths from rabies have been caused by transmission from bats, in many cases without a documented bite or exposure. rabies is fatal if untreated prior to onset of symptoms. Deaths from human rabies in the united states are rare, largely because of animal control measures and postexposure prophylaxis of people who have been bitten or exposed to the virus. Primary care providers play a pivotal role in the prevention of rabies. Preexposure prevention involves education and immunization of persons at high risk for rabies exposure. rabies is difficult to diagnose antemortem because of the nonspecific presentation of signs and symptoms that may mimic those of respiratory or abdominal infections. Diagnosing rabies once symptoms begin will not save the victim's life but will help to minimize exposure to others, allow for identification and prophylaxis of those who may have been exposed, and identify the animal vector.
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2/38. Risk to tourists posed by wild mammals in south africa.

    BACKGROUND: One of south africa's principal tourist attractions is the opportunity to encounter Africa's large mammals in the wild. Attacks by these mammals can be exceptionally newsworthy with potentially deleterious effects on tourism. Little is known about the risk of injury and death caused by wild mammals to visitors to south africa's nature reserves. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of fatal and nonfatal attacks on tourists by wild mammals in south africa and to ascertain avoidable factors, if any. methods: Commercial press records covering all South African newspapers archived at the Independent newspapers' central library were systematically reviewed for a 10-year period, January 1988 to December 1997 inclusive, to identify all deaths and injuries to domestic and international tourists resulting from encounters with wild mammals in south africa. All of these incidents were analyzed to ascertain avoidable factors. RESULTS: During the review period seven tourists, including two students from thailand and a German traveler, were killed by wild mammals in south africa. Three of the four deaths ascribed to lions resulted from tourists carelessly approaching prides on foot in lion reserves. A judicial inquiry found that the management of a KwaZulu-Natal Reserve was culpable for the remaining death. Tourist ignorance of animal behavior and flagrant disregard of rules contributed to the two fatalities involving hippopotami. The unusual behavior manifested by the bull elephant responsible for the final death, resulted from discomfort caused by a dental problem to this pachyderm. During the same period there were 14 nonfatal attacks on tourists, including five by hippo, three by buffalo, two by rhino, and one each by a lion, leopard, zebra and musth elephant. Only the latter occurred while the visitor was in a motor vehicle. Tourist ethological naivete and failure to determine the experience of trail guides prior to travel, resulted in inadvertent agonistic behavior, unnecessary risk-taking and avoidable injury. CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective study has shown that attacks on tourists by wild mammals in south africa are an uncommon cause of injury and death. Sensible precautions to minimize this risk include remaining in a secure motor vehicle or adequately fenced precincts while in the vicinity of large mammals, rigidly observing nature reserve instructions, never approaching animals that appear ill, malnourished, displaying aggressive behavior traits or female wild mammals with young, and demanding adequately trained and experienced game rangers when embarking on walking trails. Any behavior that might be construed as antagonistic and which could provoke an attack by large mammals should be avoided (e.g., driving directly at a lion). Visitors need to be informed of classic signs of aggression, in particular in elephants, which will allow timely avoidance measures to be taken. The risk-enhancing effect of excessive alcohol intake is undesirable in the game reserve setting, as is driving at high speed after dusk in areas where hippos graze. Local advice on personal safety in wildlife reserves and the credentials of trail guides should be obtained from lodge or reserve management, tourism authorities or the travel industry prior to travel to game reserves.
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keywords = death
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3/38. Dog pack attack: hunting humans.

    Dog bite-related fatalities, although unusual, accounted for 304 deaths in the united states between 1979 and 1996 and 6 fatalities in canada between 1994 and 1996. Fatal dog pack attacks and attacks involving human predation are less common. The following describes a dog pack attack on a family of four involving 2 fatalities with predation of the victims. Factors previously identified that contribute to pack attacks and predation, including prior group hunting, social feeding, territorial defense, lack of human interaction, and prey stimuli, are discussed.
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4/38. Survey of rabies preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis among missionary personnel stationed outside the united states.

    BACKGROUND: Of the 36 cases of human rabies that have occurred in the united states since 1980, 12 (33%) were presumed to have been acquired abroad. In the united states, it is recommended that international travelers likely to come in contact with animals in canine rabies-enzootic areas that lack immediate access to appropriate medical care, including vaccine and rabies immune globulin, should be considered for preexposure prophylaxis. In 1992, the death of an American missionary who had contracted rabies while stationed in bangladesh highlighted this high-risk group. methods: To assess their knowledge of rabies risk, rabies exposures, and compliance with preventive recommendations, we asked 695 missionaries and their family members to complete questionnaires about their time stationed abroad. RESULTS: Of the 293 respondents stationed in countries where rabies is endemic, 37% reported prior knowledge of the presence of rabies in their country of service. Only 28% of the personnel stationed in rabies-endemic countries received preexposure prophylaxis. Having preexposure prophylaxis specifically recommended increased the likelihood of actually receiving it (O.R. 15.6, 95%CI 7.4 - 34.9). There were 38 reported exposures (dogs = 66%, another human = 20%), proven or presumed to be rabid. Three of the people exposed received rabies immune globulin and vaccine; 11 received vaccine alone; 8 received only basic first aid, and 16 received no treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Although American missionaries stationed abroad are at an increased risk for exposure to rabies, compliance with established preventive measures was low. Prior to being stationed abroad, an educational rabies-prevention briefing, including encouragement to receive preexposure prophylaxis, could be an effective intervention for missionaries to decrease their risk of rabies.
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keywords = death
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5/38. Pathologic features of fatal shark attacks.

    To examine the pattern of injuries in cases of fatal shark attack in South Australian waters, the authors examined the files of their institution for all cases of shark attack in which full autopsies had been performed over the past 25 years, from 1974 to 1998. Of the seven deaths attributed to shark attack during this period, full autopsies were performed in only two cases. In the remaining five cases, bodies either had not been found or were incomplete. Case 1 was a 27-year-old male surfer who had been attacked by a shark. At autopsy, the main areas of injury involved the right thigh, which displayed characteristic teeth marks, extensive soft tissue damage, and incision of the femoral artery. There were also incised wounds of the right wrist. Bony injury was minimal, and no shark teeth were recovered. Case 2 was a 26-year-old male diver who had been attacked by a shark. At autopsy, the main areas of injury involved the left thigh and lower leg, which displayed characteristic teeth marks, extensive soft tissue damage, and incised wounds of the femoral artery and vein. There was also soft tissue trauma to the left wrist, with transection of the radial artery and vein. Bony injury was minimal, and no shark teeth were recovered. In both cases, death resulted from exsanguination following a similar pattern of soft tissue and vascular damage to a leg and arm. This type of injury is in keeping with predator attack from underneath or behind, with the most severe injuries involving one leg. Less severe injuries to the arms may have occurred during the ensuing struggle. Reconstruction of the damaged limb in case 2 by sewing together skin, soft tissue, and muscle bundles not only revealed that no soft tissue was missing but also gave a clearer picture of the pattern of teeth marks, direction of the attack, and species of predator.
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ranking = 2
keywords = death
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6/38. Unusual infant death: dog attack or postmortem mutilation after child abuse?

    An unusual form of fatal child abuse is reported in which investigations by the police and the medical examiner were able to distinguish blunt force head trauma followed by postmortem dismemberment from a fatal dog attack. A discussion of the approaches used to ascertain the correct diagnosis is presented, as well as an overview of dog attacks on humans.
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7/38. rabies in israel: decades of prevention and a human case.

    Animal rabies is endemic in israel, with 50-80 laboratory-confirmed cases being diagnosed annually. Despite the high incidence among animals, human rabies has not occurred in israel for almost four decades. This is likely due to the highly effective prevention policy implemented by the Ministry of health, based on pre-exposure vaccination of populations at risk, post-exposure treatment, and updated rules. Notwithstanding the previous success, a human case occurred in 1996 when a soldier was bitten, while asleep, by an unidentified small animal, which according to his description was a rat or a mouse. Since injuries by these rodents do not require antirabies treatment, no antirabies post-exposure prophylaxis was administered. Five weeks later the soldier complained of fever and nausea with interchanging periods of rage and calm, confusion, and water aversion. His condition deteriorated gradually, leading to deep coma and death. Immunofluorescence examination of a skin biopsy was positive for rabies, and PCR of saliva revealed lyssavirus genotype 1. We review the changes in the epizootiology of rabies in israel, the trends of human exposure to animals, and the pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis guidelines, and discuss possible measures that could have been undertaken to prevent the eventuality of this case. This case of rabies, the first after a long period without human disease, accentuates the importance of strict adherence to prevention guidelines. Considerations of geography, epidemiology, and the circumstances of exposure are crucial in the treatment decision-making process.
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8/38. Human monocytic ehrlichiosis: an emerging pathogen in transplantation.

    BACKGROUND: The spectrum of disease caused by Ehrlichia spp. ranges from asymptomatic to fatal. awareness and early diagnosis of the infection is paramount because appropriate therapy leads to rapid defervescence and cure. If left untreated, particularly in immunosuppressed patients, ehrlichioses may result in multi-system organ failure and death. methods: We report the second case of human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME) in a liver transplant recipient, and review the literature. RESULTS: The patient presented with fever and headache, had negative cultures, and despite broad-spectrum antimicrobial coverage appeared progressively septic. After eliciting a history of tick exposure we treated the patient empirically with doxycycline. The diagnosis of HME was confirmed by 1) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for ehrlichia chaffeensis, 2) acute and convalescent serum titers, and 3) in vitro cultivation of E chaffeensis from peripheral blood. CONCLUSION: Although human ehrlichioses are relatively uncommon, they are emerging as clinically significant arthropod-borne infections. Although epidemiological exposure is responsible for infection, immunosuppression makes patients more likely to succumb to disease. A high index of suspicion and early treatment results in a favorable outcome.
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9/38. Basic instinct in a feline.

    Reported cases in europe of large felines attacking humans are rare. Recently, in france, a man was attacked in an animal park by a tigress he had raised. He received fatal cervical wounds. This case of death by bites and lacerations, together with others in the recent international literature, underline the hereditary ferocity of such felines and the way in which they prefer to inflict lesions to the neck.
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keywords = death
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10/38. Accidental sharp force injury fatalities.

    The authors review all accidental sharp force injury deaths investigated at the Southwestern Institute of forensic sciences from 1990 to 1999. Twenty-two cases of accidental sharp force injury were identified, accounting for 0.29% of all accidental deaths (9,562) during the 10-year study period. Included in this series are 5 incised wounds, 11 stab wounds, 4 chop wounds, and 2 deaths caused by dog attacks. About half of the cases involved some type of motorized machinery. The victims' ages ranged from 2 years to 71 years, with most deaths occurring in older teenagers and younger adults. Male subjects (17) were involved much more frequently than female subjects (5). In 50% of the cases, ethanol or other drug use was a possible underlying contributing factor in the accident. The cases are briefly reviewed, and the importance of detailed investigation in manner-of-death certification is emphasized.
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keywords = death
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