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Bacteria can lead to infection in dog bite cases

It's common to think that the only harm caused by dog bites are injuries or lacerations. There are also a number of diseases that might result from dog bites that Ohio residents should be aware of. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 18 percent of all dog bites result in bacterial infection. Of the more than 60 types of bacteria that might be in a dog's mouth, a handful will make the bite victim sick. Among these are MRSA, tetanus, rabies, Pasteurella and Capnocytophaga bacteria.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, is a staph infection that does not respond to a specific class of antibiotics. Dogs might carry MRSA without any symptoms. In people, MRSA can cause lung, urinary tract or skin infections. It can be a life-threatening condition in some cases.

Dogs might carry tetanus, and the toxin might cause paralysis after serious dog bites. Rabies is rare in dogs in the U.S., but it's among the most severe diseases a person can contract from a dog bite. The rabies virus impacts the brain and is fatal in almost every case once symptoms have developed.

In over half of dog bites that develop infection, the Pasteurella bacteria is present. It often causes redness and pain, swollen glands and swollen joints. Capnocytophaga bacteria are present in the mouths of dogs, cats and people. They can make people sick in some cases, especially if the people have weakened immune systems.

People who are bitten by dogs might be entitled to recover for damages including lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Damages may be greater in cases where dog bite injuries lead to infections. A personal injury lawyer might be able to help bite victims by gathering evidence in anticipation of trial or by negotiating settlement with the dog owner or relevant insurance carrier.

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