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Dog bites and the risk of infection

Adults and children in New Jersey have the basic right to expect to be in public without being subjected to attacks from dogs. Still, there are times when dangerous or vicious dogs attack people and inflict potentially serious injuries from bites. What's particularly problematic about a dog bite is the risk of infection. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that infections result from about 10 to 15 percent of dog bites.

The reason why dog bites often become infected is that they often happen in places where it's more difficult for the body to fight infection, such as hands and fingers. Various species of bacteria can multiply after a bite occurs and produce symptoms that may include fluid or pus coming from the wound, tenderness or red streaks around the bite, muscle weakness, fatigue, limited use of the affected hand or limb, and/or fever. Puncture wounds from bites may develop into tetanus, a serious bacterial disease that affects the nervous system.

Bites are also more likely to turn into infections if the wound is deep or if the person bitten has a weakened immune system. All dog breeds have the potential to bite. Even normally gentle dogs may bite if they become overly excited, frightened, or injured. Oftentimes, it's a dog a victim is familiar with that ends up inflecting the bite. While anyone can be bitten by a dog, children tend to be more likely to experience bites of this nature.

It's typically the owner of a dangerous dog who is responsible for injuries sustained, although it may be necessary to prove negligence. A lawyer might attempt to do this by determining whether or not actions taken by the owner were responsible. This could include showing that the dog wasn't properly restrained, or that it has a history of attacking people.

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