Shark Bite Scale

Published: January 28 2010


Trauma doctors could soon assess shark bites the same way they diagnose a first or second-degree burn. University of Florida researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind shark bite severity scale.

Dr. Ashley Lentz/UF surgeon: “A level one injury is a very small laceration, results in a very small amount of blood lose. However, the level five injury is a very significant injury that may result in severe damage to a blood vessel, a large blood vessel that results in very rapid blood lose and death.”

On average, sharks bite about sixty people each year around the world, and most attacks occur in Florida waters. The scale’s designed to give emergency care providers a universal language to describe shark bites and to educate the public that the majority of shark attacks are not deadly.

Dr. Ashley Lentz/UF surgeon: “Many people think that shark attacks are catastrophic, that is just not true. The reality of shark attacks are very small cuts, abrasions, bruises, things of that nature, that quickly mended.”

Dr. Lentz calls the scale a starting point in an attempt to educate medical professionals and teach them how to care for shark bites.