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human bites or bite

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  • human 'bites' may occur as the result of violent injury (e.g. injury to the clenched fist from a punch to the mouth) or 'love bites', or in care settings for children or people with learning disabilities (1)
  • the majority human bites are on the fingers or hands but other common sites include the neck, breasts and genitalia
    • about 30% of clenched-fist injuries lead to deep lacerations and infection in tendons, bone, or other tissues remote from the puncture site, which is particularly likely if there is a delay of more than 24 hours before the person seeks medical attention
    • bacterial infection that often contaminate human bites include:
      • streptococci
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Haemophilus spp
      • Bacteroides
      • Fusobacterium spp and other anaerobes
      • Eikenella corrodens, a slow-growing Gram-negative bacillus
    • transmission of viruses (e.g. hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV) following human bites is much less common


  1. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (2004); 42:65-72.