By Gatonye Gathura
More Kenyans are bitten by fellow human that by snakes, in fact the number of human bites in the country are only second to dog bites.
But more importantly, a new study in Nigeria has deflated the thinking that women are more likely to bite than men.
“Men just like women are equality likely to bite, as reported in an earlier human bites study at Kenyan National Hospital, Kenya,” says Dr Samuel Ohayi of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria.
Dr Ohayi in a study appearing in the current journal of the African Health Sciences is referring to an earlier study on patients presenting with human bites at Kenyatta hospital.
In the 60-day study period, in Kenya, Dr Japheth Mbogo Gilyoma reported 62 human bite patients visiting the casualty department at KNH.
“Compared to other bites, human bites were second in occurrence to dog bites reported at the hospital.”
Dr Mbogo said there were 63 patients of dog bites during the same period at KNH, with an average of one patient per day.
“During the same period there were just about two snake bites reported at KNH.”
So who is being bitten in Nairobi? Among the patients who had reported at KNH during the study period, 33 were females and 29 were males.
The patients at KNH, the report show most, 60, had been bitten by adults with two children biting their playmates.
There were 26 males who had been bitten by males. Also the report shows seven females had been bitten by males compared to only four men being bitten by women. Twenty five females had been bitten by their fellow women.
Traditionally, Dr Mbogo says people believe that human bite victims are females bitten by females.
“In this study it has been shown that the sex distribution of victims in Nairobi population is almost the same.”
Similarly in the new study in Nigeria while more women were involved, the researchers say the gender difference is not significant.
Dr Ohayi and his team had studied 29 patients reporting with human bites at a university teaching hospital in Nigeria; 10 were males and 19 were females.
“Nineteen women bit fellow females while seven male bit fellow males.” Female victims and bitters the report shows were mostly housewives while males were mostly artisans.
More females than males were bitten on the face while more women than men were involved in romance related biting.
“It would appear that biters target the face and the breast of victims, both central to romantic attractions, possibly to degrade the worth of the opponent in such affairs,” says Dr Ohayi.
The researchers are advising bite victims to quickly seek medical care because some bites can lead to serious infection, amputations or even death.
Dr Mbogo in his study at KNH tells of a twelve year- old-girl who was bitten by a boy unknown to her. Five days later she was noted to fear water and could not swallow even her saliva. She was admitted in a pediatric observation ward where she died of rabies.