Animal attacks cost us more than $1 billion a year, and they’re becoming more common
CNN – Animal-related injuries lead to health care costs of more than $1 billion a year in the United States, according to a new study — and they’re happening more often.
The rate of all animal attack injuries has increased over the past 10 years, according to Dr. Joseph Forrester, one of the authors of the study published Tuesday in the BMJ. He anticipates that it will continue to rise, partially because of climate change.
The most common cause of injury is bites from non-venomous arthropods, the group that includes spiders, mosquitoes, ticks, and centipedes. Big Spike In Ticks, Bugs, Third World Disease Across USA
As temperatures rise, the habitats of some of these creatures will get larger as they will be able to survive in more places, meaning they are able to injure more people.
The habitats of larger animals, such as bears, are overlapping more and more with human developments and recreational activities, as well, so injuries from these animals could also increase, the study says.
“We looked at approximately 20% of the emergency departments in the United States over a span of five years, so 2010 to 2014, and we looked at all the patients who came in who had diagnosis codes that corresponded to animal injury,” said Dr. Joseph Forrester, one of the authors of the study published Tuesday in the BMJ.
Over the five-year period, over 6 million emergency department admissions were linked to animal-related injuries. That works out to 1,291,507 people annually or 19 injuries per 10,000 visits …
“First and foremost, the most common injury associated with an animal is not actually a bear or alligator, bottom line, it’s actually things much smaller,” said Forrester, a trauma surgery and critical care fellow at Stanford University.
Nearly half of the injuries, 41%, were related to bites from non-venomous arthropods. Dog bites were the next highest cause, accounting for 26% of the injuries. Third were bites and stings from hornets, wasps, and bees, which made up 13% of the injuries. Another Brutal Pitbull Attack, Another Dead Child