Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Can a dog bite make you sick?

When you get bitten by a dog in New Jersey, you may not think the bite will make you sick. Sometimes, though, people might get a disease from the bite.

A dog bite can make you ill if bacteria causes an infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 18 percent of bites might get infected. While rabies may be the first contagion that comes to mind, there are other diseases you might incur. If your wound is deep, you may sometimes be at risk of developing tetanus. This disease can be serious because it can make your muscles stiff or paralyzed. You might also incur a kind of staph infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. You may experience a urinary tract or skin infection if you come in contact with this bacteria during a dog bite.

If you have a weakened immune system, the bacteria from a dog bite may sometimes have a more serious effect on your health. If your wound is infected with Pasteurella, you might experience joint swelling and swollen glands. Additionally, a kind of bacteria called Capnocytophaga has the potential to make you ill if your body finds it difficult to combat infections. 

It is important for you to go to the doctor if you think a dog bite might be making you sick. A swollen or red wound can sometimes be a sign that the bite is infected, and you may also have a fever. Visiting the doctor is also a good idea if it has been at least five years since you received a tetanus vaccination.

This information is general in nature and should not be used in place of legal advice.

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