(CNN)When a 2-year-old boy was snatched by an alligator in a lagoon at a Walt Disney World resort hotel in Orlando on Tuesday, it was without a doubt horrific — and extremely rare.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission notes that even though the state averages about seven unprovoked alligator attacks per year — a rate that has been increasing about 3% a year — the likelihood of being seriously injured in a random attack is roughly one in 2.4 million.
But among both children and adults, how common are animal attacks in general? Are they occurring more frequently than ever before?
Nationwide, “infants and young children, zero to 4 years of age, were highly represented in dog-related fatalities,” he said. “Dogs caused 66% of animal-related deaths in this age group.”
Among children in general, the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for 5- to 9-year-olds, according to the CDC. To avoid such attacks, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises to never leave small children with a dog unsupervised and avoid disturbing a dog when it’s sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
“Due to the known increased incidence of dog-related deaths associated with young children, especially those less than 4 years of age, parents need to carefully monitor dog-child interactions at all times and consider avoiding altogether in the youngest age groups,” Holstege said.
Among adults 20 and older, he added, hornets, wasps and bees account for 33% of deaths.
“Those with known significant allergies to wasps, hornets, bees should always carry epinephrine auto-injectors to assure timely treatment when such an envenomation,” he said.
To minimize the risk of getting stung, the Mayo Clinic suggests not swatting at the winged creatures, as it may cause them to attack. If you are stung, the organization advises that you leave the area immediately, as when a honeybee stings, it may release an “alarm pheromone” that could attract other bees.
“In many ways, the data is pretty reassuring. The most common cause of death are not the scariest things, necessarily, but they are the most common interactions we have with farm animals and they are preventable,” Forrester said. “If we implement safe workplace practices for persons working around livestock or if a person knows what to do if you get stung by a bee or a wasp, we can prevent deaths.”
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