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Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus) Attacks on Humans

Published:September 29, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2022.07.007
      The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is an omnivore that has been reported around most parts of South Asia. Although rare, sloth bear attacks can inflict potentially life-threatening injuries. This cross-sectional study analyzed 10 patients who had been mauled by sloth bears and who presented to rural hospitals in the Anuradhapura district of Sri Lanka between 2015 and 2019. All of the patients were male farmers. The human–bear encounters occurred in the jungle during the daytime. Ten victims sustained multiple soft tissue and bone injuries, mainly to the face and arms. The injuries ranged from minor abrasions to extensive deep lacerations and bone fractures. All of the patients were managed in the tertiary care hospital by multidisciplinary surgical teams. Sloth bear-inflicted wounds must be treated as major trauma. There is a need to formulate guidelines and train medical officers in managing animal-inflicted injuries in Sri Lanka.

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