Purpose: To prospectively study the incidence, mechanism, distribution of injury, and outcome of patients admitted to Al-Ain Hospital with camel bite injuries in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. Methodology: All patients admitted to Al-Ain Hospital with a camel bite were prospectively studied during the period of October 2001-October 2007. Patient's demography, mechanism of injury including behaviour of the camel, distribution and severity of injury, and outcome were studied. Results: 33 patients were studied having a median (range) age of 27 (10-58), all were males. 97% were from the Indian subcontinent. A majority of injuries (73%) occurred during the camel rutting season (November-March). Twenty-five patients were camel caregivers whilst five were camel jockeys. All camel jockeys were children. Seven patients were raised up by the camel's mouth and thrown to the ground whilst 26 patients were only bitten. Most injuries were in the upper limb (64%) and head and face (15%). 48% of upper limb injuries had associated fractures. Two patients who were bitten at the neck were admitted to the ICU. One of these died due to massive left-brain infarction and the other had complete quadriplegia due to spinal cord injury. The median hospital stay was 6 days. There was only one death (3%). Conclusion: The behaviour of the camel is occasionally unpredictable, especially during the rutting season. The mechanism of camel bite injuries, which are usually severe, are complex including penetrating and crushing injuries by the camel jaw and blunt injuries when patients are picked up and thrown away. Care should be taken when handling camels, particularly in the rut.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine