Alligator Bites

Alligators are found throughout Florida, inhabiting rivers, wetlands, lakes, ponds and canals. The alligator population significantly increased with protection under the Federal Endangered Species programs. Alligators normally avoid humans, but human development of former wilderness areas has placed alligators and humans in close proximity and humans have encroached on them in the alligator farming industry and in hunting season in some states (80).

Alligator attacks are most common during daylight hours, in warm weather months, during the mating season and when protecting their nests. Most attacks occur in water, and the attacking alligators are usually large (81,82).

Soft tissue infections are common after alligator bites, and broad-spectrum antibiotics should be administered prophylactically. A variety of gramnegative aerobes, including Aeromonas hydrophila, which is endemic in Florida's lakes and ponds, have been cultured from the mouth of alligators. Aeromonas infection may present as bullae with areas of erythema and cellulitis at the site of injury and even distant sites. Large areas of necrosis rapidly develop in these areas with progressive cutaneous and subcutaneous necrosis and separation (80,82,83).

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