Sunday, January 30, 2005

Injury Control Going to the Dogs

BrooklynDodger was looking for an off-the-job injury prevention topic which might be more divisive than gun control. The Dodger thinks there is one, summarized below.

The publication below illustrates both a major surveillance data base and the willful ignorance of the hierarchy of controls in the public health community and CDC.

The resource is the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP). NEISS-AIP is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and collects data about initial visits for all types and causes of injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs). NEISS-AIP data are drawn from a nationally representative subsample of 66 out of 100 NEISS hospitals, which were selected as a stratified probability sample of hospitals with a minimum of six beds and a 24-hour ED in the United States and its territories. NEISS-AIP provides data on approximately 500,000 injury- and consumer product--related ED cases each year.

The take home lesson for those who want to refocus occupational programs toward off the job is that the data to do homework on priorities is available. The data quoted in the paper below was only about a year old at the time of publication, which is pretty much real time in the area; anyway, there was no major policy decision hanging on this data, in contrast to the firearms data BrooklynDodger posted recently.

Now, let’s go to the dogs and CDC. BrooklynDodger thinks it isn’t too snarky to complain that the CDC authors have emphasized “education” as the level of control for this type of injury. Not only is education about the lowest level of control, but education for children under the age of 14 in how to act around a dog so the animal won’t bite them. As noted below, it’s the neighbor’s dog which inflicts about half the injuries, followed by the family dog [safer dog, likely longer exposure time.] The Dodger wonders how often the kid got blamed for getting bit?

Nonfatal Dog Bite--Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments --- United States, 2001

MMWR July 4, 2003 / 52(26);605-610

In 2001, an estimated 68 million canines were kept as pets in the United States. An estimated 368,245 persons were treated for dog bites in Emergency Departments. Of these 154,625 (42%) were aged <14>16 years were work-related, including some that occurred while persons were visiting homes as part of their work activities.

CDC in typical fashion opines that prevention programs should educate both children and adults about bite prevention and responsible pet ownership. Additional information about preventing dog bites is available at

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