Animal Bites

Almost any aerobic and anaerobic oral flora isolate is a potential pathogen, and therefore the bacteriology of these bite wounds varies and needs individual study (33-38).

Holst et al. (14) investigated the distribution of 159 P. multocida isolates from bite wounds. P. multocida accounted for 60% of the isolates and was recovered from all cases of bacteremia. Pasteurella septica, accounted for 13% of isolates, was more commonly isolated from cat than from dog bites and caused more central nervous system complications. Pasteurella canis (biotype 1) was recovered from 18% of wounds in cases of dog bites. Isolates that were less often recovered, including Pasteurella stomatis, Pasteurella dagmatis, Pasteurella gallinarum, Pasteurella haemolytica, and Pasteurella pneumotropica, have also been associated with endocarditis and bacteremia. In addition to Pasteurella spp., anaerobic bacteria play a prominent role in bite wound infections (8-12,37). They can be isolated from about three-fourths of dog and cat bite wound infections, mostly from those where an abscess is formed (8-12,37). AGNB are the predominant anaerobic isolates. The most frequently isolated strains include Porphyromonas salivosa, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Porphyromonas canoris. Other isolates

TABLE 1 Predominant Aerobic Facultative and Anaerobic Bacteria Isolated from Patients with Animal Bite and Human Bite Wounds

Animal bite Human bite

Aerobic and facultative isolates

TABLE 1 Predominant Aerobic Facultative and Anaerobic Bacteria Isolated from Patients with Animal Bite and Human Bite Wounds

Aerobic and facultative isolates

Streptococcus spp.

Alpha-hemolytic

C

C

Group A beta-hemolytic

C

C

Non-group A beta-hemolytic

C

C

Gamma-hemolytic

C

C

Enterococcus spp.

C

C

Staphylococcus aureus

C

C

Staphylococcus epidermidis

C

C

Neisseria spp.

C

C

Corynebacterium spp.

C

C

Pasteurella spp.

C

Eikenella corrodens

C

C

Acinetobacter spp.

C

Weeksella zoohelcum

C

Haemophilus spp.

C

C

Moraxella spp.

C

Capnocytophaga spp.

C

Anaerobic isolates

Peptostreptococcus spp.

C

C

Veillonella spp.

C

C

Bifidobacterium spp.

C

Eubacterium spp.

C

Fusobacterium spp.

C

C

Bacteroides spp.

C

C

Prevotella spp.

C

C

Fusobacterium spp.

C

C

include Porphyromonas cangingivalis, Porphyromonas cansulci, Porphyromonas circumdentaria, Porphyromonas levii-like strains, and some unidentified species (11). Saccharolytic Bacteroides and Prevotella spp. are also often recovered from dog and cat bite wounds. These include Bacteroides tectum, Prevotella heparinolytica, Prevotella zoogleoformans, Prevotella buccae, and Prevotella oris (10).

Using aerobic and anaerobic cultural methods, Goldstein et al. (37) evaluated 27 dog bite wounds and isolated 109 organisms, 87 aerobes, and 22 anaerobes. All positive cultures yielded multiple organisms, most were potential pathogens. P. multocida was recovered from 7 of 27 wounds (30%), and the most common aerobes were the alpha-hemolytic streptococci and S. aureus. Anaerobes were present in 41% of wounds and included Bacteroides and Fusobacterium spp. Similar data were found in other animal bites (cats, squirrels, other rodents, and rattlesnakes) (17).

Brook evaluated 21 children who had animal bites, 17 from dogs and four from cats (32). Aerobes only were isolated from five children (24%), anaerobic bacteria only from 2 (10%), and mixed aerobic and anaerobic isolates from 14 (66%). A total of 59 isolates (2.8/specimen): 37 aerobes (1.8/specimen) and 22 anaerobes (1.0/specimen) were recovered.

Talan et al. (38) studied wounds of 50 patients with dog bites and 57 patients with cat bites. They recovered a median of five isolates/culture. Aerobes and anaerobes were found in 56% of the wounds, aerobes alone in 36%, and anaerobes alone in 1%. Pasteurella spp. were the most common isolates from both dog and cat bites. Other common aerobes included streptococci, staphylococci, moraxella, and neisseria. Common anaerobes included Fusobacterium, Bacteroides, Porphyromonas, and Prevotella. Isolates not previously identified as human pathogens included Riemerella anatipestifer from two cat bites and B. tectum, P. heparinolytica, and several Porphyromonas spp from dog and cat bites. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated from two cat bites.

The microbiology of monkey and simian bite wounds is similar to that of human bites, where aerobic and anaerobic pathogens are the infecting agents. These include Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus spp., E. corrodens, Neisseria spp., Enterobacteriaceae, AGNB and Fusobacterium spp.

B virus (also known as Herpesvirus simiae; Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1) is a potential pathogen from some monkey bites (39,40). This infection can cause fatal encephalomyelitis. It is enzootic in North African and Asian monkeys and affects the macaque and rhesus monkeys.

The organisms recovered from horse bite wounds include S. aureus, Streptococcus spp., Neisseria spp., Escherichia coli, Actinobacillus lignieresii, Pasteurella spp., Bacteroides ureolyticus, Bacteroides fragilis, other AGNB, P. melaninogenica, and P. heparinolytica (24,41,42). Actinobacillus spp. is associated with sheep bites (24).

The organisms recovered from pig bite infections are: Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp. (including Streptococcus sanguis, Streptococcus suis, and Streptococcus milleri), diphtheroids, P. multocida, other Pasteurella spp., Haemophilus influenzae, Actinobacillus suis, Flavobacterium Ilb-like organisms, B. fragilis, and other AGNB (23,43-46).

Organisms of marine environment cause aquatic animal bite infections (26,47-52). These infections often involve Vibrio and Aeromonas spp., which can also be recovered from the shark's oral cavity (42,47-49). Vibrio carchariae is recovered from shark bite infection (48). A. hydrophila was recovered from a cellulitis that occurred after a piranha bite (51) and alligator bites (52). Isolates from catfish bites and injuries (26) were Vibrio spp. (as Vibrio vulnificus), Vibrio damsela, Pseudomonas spp., Enterobacteriaceae, A. hydrophila, and Peptostreptococcus spp.

Bird pecking and bites can induce serious infections. A brain abscess that was caused by Streptococcus bovis, Clostridium tertium, and Aspergillus niger developed in an infant after a rooster pecked his skull (53). An owl attack caused superficial cellulitis due to two non-fragilis Bacteroides spp. (54), and a swan bite induced cellulitis due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa (55).

Ferrets caused serious facial injuries in three infants, and S. aureus was isolated from one patient (56).

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