English hospital episode data analysis (1998–2018) reveal that the rise in dog bite hospital admissions is driven by adult cases


John S. P. Tulloch 1,2,3*, Sara C. Owczarczak‐Garstecka 3,4,5, Kate M. Fleming 6, Roberto Vivancos 2,7 & Carri Westgarth 3


Dog bites are a global health issue that can lead to severe health outcomes. This study aims to describe the incidence and sociodemographics of patients admitted to English National Health Service (NHS) hospitals for dog bites (1998–2018), and to estimate their annual direct health care costs. An analysis of patient level data utilising hospital episode statistics for NHS England, including: temporal trends in annual incidence of admission, Poisson models of the sociodemographic characteristics of admitted patients, and direct health care cost estimates. The incidence of dog bite admissions rose from 6.34 (95%CI 6.12–6.56) in 1998 to 14.99 (95%CI 14.67–15.31) admissions per 100,000 population in 2018, with large geographic variation. The increase was driven by a tripling of incidence in adults. Males had the highest rates of admission in childhood. Females had two peaks in admission, childhood and 35–64 years old. Two percent (2.05%, 95%CI 0.93–3.17) of emergency department attendances resulted in admission. Direct health care costs increased and peaked in the financial year 2017/2018 (admission costs: £25.1 million, emergency attendance costs: £45.7million). Dog bite related hospital admissions have increased solely in adults. Further work exploring human–dog interactions, stratified by demographic factors, is urgently needed to enable the development of appropriate risk reduction intervention strategies.



Research Themes:

4. Epidemiology and Risk Analysis