Prophylactic antibiotics in mammalian bites may prevent wound infection

Clinical question: 
Do prophylactic antibiotics in mammalian bites prevent wound infection?
Bottom line: 
Prophylactic antibiotics may reduce the rate of infection after bites by humans NNT =2 (based on 1 study) and after animal bites on the hand (NNT 3 to 7) based on 3 studies. Bites on head and trunk did not seem to benefit from antibiotics.
Caveat: 
Several studies included in the review were small, one involving only 12 patients. Different antibiotics were used in the studies, ranging from penicillin V to dicloxacillin.
Context: 
Bites by mammals are a common problem, accounting for up to 1% of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. Dog and cat bites are most common, and school-age children make up almost half of those bitten
Review CD#: 
CD001738
PEARLS No: 
34
Date: 
July, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy