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Bite, Human

Bite, Human is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • 3rd most common bite (after dogs and cats)
  • Most bites (up to 75%) occur during aggressive acts.
  • 15–20% are related to sexual activity (love nips).
  • 2 types of bites:
    • Occlusional bites: Laceration or crush injury to affected body part:
      • Occurs when human teeth bite into the skin
      • More prone to infection than animal bites
    • Clenched-fist injuries (CFIs) (CFIs; most serious type): Present as small wounds over metacarpophalangeal joints in dominant hand (fight bites):
      • Sustained from a clenched fist striking the mouth and teeth of another person
  • With joint relaxation from the clenched position:
    • Puncture site sealed
    • Oral bacteria inoculated in the anaerobic setting within the joint
    • Bacterial inoculation carried by the tendons deeper into the potential spaces of the hand
    • Increases chances for a more extensive infection


  • Aerobic and anaerobic organisms:
    • Most common:
      • Streptococcus
      • Staphylococcus
    • Others:
      • Eikenella corrodens
      • Haemophilus influenzae
      • Peptostreptococcus
      • Corynebacterium
      • E. corrodens exhibits synergism with Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacteroides, and gram-negative organisms
  • Although rare, case reports of viral transmission via bites (hepatitis, HIV, and herpes)

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Bite, Human." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307424/all/Bite__Human.
Bite, Human. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307424/all/Bite__Human. Accessed April 20, 2019.
Bite, Human. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307424/all/Bite__Human
Bite, Human [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 20]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307424/all/Bite__Human.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Bite, Human ID - 307424 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307424/all/Bite__Human PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -