VALLEY STREAM, NY – The now infamous bite by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez during the World Cup game against Italy could have caused health issues beyond the actual wound, a New York doctor says.
“There are a whole lot of germs [in the human mouth], up to 190 kids of bacteria,” says Sanjey Gupta, MD, director of emergency room medicine at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream. “The human mouth is dirty. There are plenty of bacteria and it can all cause infections.”
Some of the more serious diseases that can be spread through saliva or a bite include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, tetanus and tuberculosis, Dr. Gupta says. This is why it is important to be up-to-date on your tetanus shots.
Within the first 12 hours from when the bite occurred, the area should be cleaned out with soap and water and assessed by a physician. Stitches may or may not be necessary depending on the location and severity of the bite. Bites to someone’s face or neck, because of the good blood supply to these areas and for cosmetic reasons, may require stitches, Dr. Gupta explains.
For bites on other areas of the body with less good blood flow, such as hands and legs, they are more apt to get infected and a physician would not want to stitch in the bacteria, so they will probably clean out the area and simply align the skin, he says.