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Treatment and prevention of infection following bites of the Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella)

Authors Kouliev T, Cui V

Received 6 October 2014

Accepted for publication 18 November 2014

Published 2 April 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 17—20

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAEM.S75442

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Hans-Christoph Pape


Timur Kouliev,1 Victoria Cui2

1Beijing United Family Hospital, Beijing, People's Republic of China; 2Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: In recent decades, an increasing number of people have traveled to sub-Antarctic and Antarctic regions each year for research, tourism, and resource exploitation. Hunting of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) almost pushed the species to extinction in the early 1900s, but populations have since shown rapid and substantial recovery. The species' range has re-expanded to include several islands south of the Antarctic Convergence, most notably South Georgia, and now overlaps with many popular Antarctic travel destinations. Both male and female fur seals can become extremely aggressive when provoked, and their bites, if not properly treated, pose a significant risk of infection by microorganisms not usually encountered in cases of animal bites. In this report, we present the case of a patient treated for a fur seal bite during an Antarctic expedition cruise, review the literature concerning seal bites, and suggest the use of antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent complications.

Keywords: zoonotic, polar tourism, prophylaxis, seal finger, expedition medicine


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