Emergency Management Strategies and Antimicrobial Considerations for Nonmammalian Marine Vertebrate Penetrating Trauma in North America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii: A Review Article

Published:January 05, 2023DOI:
      There are numerous emergency department visits in the United States for all types of marine animal injuries each year. These injuries may result in significant morbidity or mortality if not managed appropriately. Accurate identification of the offending species, thorough wound hygiene, and judicious use of antibiotics are important for preventing infections. This review aims to describe management strategies and antimicrobial considerations for nonmammalian marine vertebrate penetrating trauma in North America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. A literature search was performed to identify studies on this subject. This literature consisted of clinical case reports and case series. Reports extracted included those on sharks, barracuda, eels, catfish, stingrays, lionfish, stonefish, and scorpionfish. The majority of reported trauma occurred to beachgoers, fishermen, or commercial aquarium employees who routinely handle these animals. Injury patterns depended on the species but most commonly affected the lower extremities. Infections were seen from saltwater bacteria, human skin flora, or marine animal oral flora. After thorough wound irrigation and exploration, most authors recommended prophylactic antimicrobials to cover Vibrio species, in addition to other gram-negative and gram-positive species. The literature is notable for the lack of controlled studies. Some authors recommended radiographic and/or ultrasonographic imaging to identify retained foreign bodies, such as spines, sand, or teeth.


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