Human encounters with the cougar (Puma concolor) are rare in the United States but may be fatal.We performed a retrospective analysis of cougar attacks in the United States. We asked Fish and Wildlife Department officials from the 16 states in which cougars are known to live to identify all verified cougar attacks recorded in state history. Variables describing the human victim, cougar, and conditions surrounding the attack were recorded. The Fisher exact test was used for comparison.Ten states reported 74 cougar attacks from 1924 to 2018. Persons less than 18 y of age were heavily represented among victims; 48% were <18 y old, and 35% were less than 10 y old. Attacks were more common in the summer and fall months. Most attacks occurred during daylight hours. The head, neck, and chest were the most common anatomic sites of injury. Sixteen (46%) victims were hospitalized after being attacked, among the 35 victims with these data available. Eleven (15%) attacks were fatal among 71 reports with this information. None of the hospitalized victims died (P=0.02). No victim variables were predictive of death.Cougar attacks are uncommon but can be fatal. Attacks commonly affect children and young adults, although all age groups are at risk of attack and death. Most attacks occur during the daytime in the summer and fall. As development and recreational activities put humans in closer contact with cougars, establishing validated public health messaging is critical to minimize injurious encounters.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.wem.2019.04.002
View details for PubMedID 31248816