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How serious is a monkey bite?

Wednesday, 19 July 2006
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. My wife just informed me over the telephone that a monkey has bitten her on her leg. She consulted a nearby doctor and took preliminary treatment. She was administered injections and advised medicines. The doctor has asked her that more injections will be administered later. My wife told me that she was feeling pain at the spot of the bite in the leg and on the arm where the injection was administered. She told me that she was finding it difficult to do household work with this pain. Now I request you to let know what should be done next? What precautions should one take? Is a monkey bite fatal? Are there particular foods she should avoid?

A.  All animal bites have the potential to cause serious reactions in the skin and underlying tissue and there is even the danger of gas gangrene. Fortunately, most bites are not a danger, and in fact bites from a human can cause more serious infection at the site and can even result in bacterial infection of the heart valves. Any of these problems could be serious or even life threatening and may need a physicians intervention. In all cases of animal bites of more than a superficial nature a tetanus shot should be taken if one had not been given within recent years. Diet will make no difference to a monkey victim, but bananas and peanuts would be reasonable.

A.  All animal bites have the potential to cause serious reactions in the skin and underlying tissue and there is even the danger of gas gangrene. Fortunately, most bites are not a danger, and in fact bites from a human can cause more serious infection at the site and can even result in bacterial infection of the heart valves. Any of these problems could be serious or even life threatening and may need a physicians intervention. In all cases of animal bites of more than a superficial nature a tetanus shot should be taken if one had not been given within recent years. Diet will make no difference to a monkey victim, but bananas and peanuts would be reasonable.

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