PHILADELPHIA - Children younger than 5 years of age are more likely than any other age group to be bitten by a rat, according to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on its Pediatrics electronic pages.
Researchers from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health analyzed 22 years of data on 622 rat bite injuries reported by Philadelphia residents from birth to the age of 75. Researchers determined that younger children sleep longer hours and were therefore more likely to be victims because most rat bites occurred in the bedroom between midnight and 8 a.m.
The data was divided into two groups: rat bites occurring between 1974 to 1984 and 1985 to 1996. The researchers discovered that during 1974 to 1984, the rate of rat bites happening to children younger than 5 was 64.7 per 100,000. However, that number decreased to 15.53 incidences per 100,000 between 1985 and 1996.
Children ages 5 to 9 were the second most likely group to receive rat bites. There were significantly fewer bites among other age groups, beginning with the 10- to 14-year-old group.
For more information:
- Hirschhorn R. B., Hodge R.R. Identification of Risk Factors in Rat Bite Incidents Involving Humans. Pediatrics. 999;104:e35.
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