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Admission rates for dog bites and strikes highest among young children with under-10s accounting for one in six admissions

August 9, 2012: Around one in six (16 per cent) of all hospital admissions for dog bite and strike injuries involves a child under 10, provisional data from the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show today.

And of the 1,040 admissions among under-10s for dog bites and strikes in the most recent year's figures (May 2011 to April 2012), nearly half (47 per cent or 494 admissions) were admitted to the plastic surgery specialty and more than a quarter (27 per cent or 278 admissions) were admitted to the specialty that provides oral/facial surgery.

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) record 6,450 admissions for dog bites or strikes in the 12 months to April 2012, a 5.2 per cent rise on the previous 12 month period (6,130). During the same period, admissions for all conditions increased by 1.3 per cent.

Today's provisional data shows that for dog bites and strikes admissions in the 12 months to April 2012:

  • Under-10s accounted for the highest rate of admissions by 10 year age group (17 per 100,000; 1,040 admissions).
  • For males, admission rates were broadly similar between the ages of 10 and 45 and then decreased with increasing age. Compared to men, women's admission rates were lower between the ages of 10 and 45 and then similar at older ages.
  • Plastic surgery was the treatment specialty with the highest rate of admissions for both children and adults under 70. For under-10s, the rate of admission to the plastic surgery specialty was higher than for older ages.
  • Children had a higher rate of admission to an oral/facial surgery specialty than adults.
  • For adults there was a higher rate of admissions to the trauma and orthopaedic treatment specialty (three per 100,000 for adults aged 20 to 29 and four per 100,000 for adults aged 40 to 49 compared to one per 100,000 for under-10s).
  • Admissions rates were highest in the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA), (21 per 100,000 of the population, or 551 in total), with this regional variation most prominent among younger age groups. Admission rates were lowest in London (seven per 100,000 of the population; 574 admissions in total) and the South East Coast (seven per 100,000 of the population; 299 admissions in total). Rates were similar for all age groups in London and South East Coast SHAs (all between six and eight admissions per 100,000).

The HSCIC's chief executive Tim Straughan said: " Although always reliant on accurate recording, the HSCIC's Hospital Episode Statistics data is very rich in detail and offers the potential to analyse much more than just the number of admissions for a particular condition.

"Injuries sustained from dog strikes or bites resulted in nearly 6,500 hospital admissions in England last year - with children under 10 accounting for around one in every six admissions.

"Through further analysis, it is also possible to infer a likely distinction in the type of injuries sustained by child and adult victims of dog bites and strikes; with children having a higher rate of admission to the specialities that carry out plastic and specialist facial surgery."

Today's provisional data includes analysis about injuries inflicted by other mammals and non-venomous arthropods as well as general information on inpatient admissions and outpatient attendances.

  • See the full report here.

The report only considers the more serious of cases that require a hospital admission - and does not include cases where the patient is dealt with solely in A&E.


Notes to editors

  1. The HSCIC was previously known as the NHS Information Centre. It is England's authoritative, independent source of health and social care information. It works with a wide range of health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work. The HSCIC also produces a wide range of statistical publications each year across a number of areas including: primary care, health and lifestyles, screening, hospital care, population and geography, social care and workforce and pay statistics.
  2. Today's press release focuses on a special topic which is part of a wider monthly publication of all provisional inpatient, outpatient and A&E activity in NHS hospitals in England. The publication includes provisional monthly data for April 2011 to April 2012 and final data for all months to March 2011
  3. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England and from some independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The HSCIC liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Figures refer to recorded admissions and are reliant upon the accurate and complete recording of cause of hospital admission.
  4. HES provisional monthly data can be used for high level, aggregate analysis demonstrating approximate trends in activity. Lower level analysis should be approached with caution as not all activity will be correctly processed until the final annual data is produced. HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage of data recorded (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and so no longer included in admitted patient HES data.
  5. The codes used within this press release are available on the external cause section at and are: Dog bites and strikes W54 - Bitten or struck by dog Other mammal bites and strikes W55 - Bitten or struck by other mammals Arthropod bites or stings W57 - Bitten or stung by non-venomous insect and other non-venomous arthropods Other bites and strikes W53 - Bitten by rat W56 - Contact with marine animal W58 - Bitten or struck by crocodile or alligator W59 - Bitten or crushed by other reptiles
  6. Please note that these data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted or treated on more than one occasion.
  7. Figures greater than 1000 in this press release have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  8. For media enquires please call 0845 257 6990 or email
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