herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tapir bite girl was 'shaken' in attack at Dublin Zoo

The two-year-old girl sustained multiple injuries in the attack by the plant-eating animal, including laceration of the forearm and multiple perforating wounds to her stomach, the Irish Medical Journal reports. Pictured: Rio the tapir and (inset) the girl's injuries
The two-year-old girl sustained multiple injuries in the attack by the plant-eating animal, including laceration of the forearm and multiple perforating wounds to her stomach, the Irish Medical Journal reports. Pictured: Rio the tapir and (inset) the girl's injuries

A LITTLE girl who was "biten, held to the ground and shaken" by a Brazilian tapir is "fortunate" that she suffered no infectious complications and made a full recovery, the team of doctors that treated her have said.

The two-and-a-half year old toddler suffered horrific injuries to her left arm and tummy during the attack at Dublin Zoo in August 2013.

The full extent of her wounds were revealed in graphic photographs showing deep lacerations to her arm and abdomen accompanying an academic article on the case.

The medics at the Temple Street Hospital, reporting in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), do not name the zoo and confirm only that the attack occurred at a city zoo.

Entitled 'Animal Attack: An Unusual Case of Multiple Trauma in Childhood', the report states that the girl's father reported that the child was attending a behind-the-scenes tour in the tapir enclosure and was attacked by a female tapir who had recently calved.

The IMJ report state that the girl "was bitten, held to the ground and shaken. Her mother intervened and sustained two bite injuries while attempting to rescue the child. No loss of consciousness was reported".

Tapirs are about the size of a large pig originating in South America and attacks on humans are very rare.

The girl sustained a deep laceration to her left forear, a cut on her right forehead and multiple stomach lacerations.

SURGERY

The medics' inspection of the girl's abdomen revealed an 11cm injury and a perforation of the small intestine.

While under the anaesthetic, the hospital's plastic surgery team closed the wound around the left forearm.

The girl was discharged seven days after the operation. A six week follow-up found that the girl was fully recovered and both her abdominal and forearm wounds were healing well with no signs of infection.

hnews@herald.ie

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