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Aspirates from bite wounds in 39 children (21 with animal bites and 18 with human bites) were cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria only were recovered in 7 (18%) wounds, anaerobic bacteria only in 3 (8%) and mixed aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in 29 (74%). A total of 59 isolates was recovered from animal bites (2.8/specimen): 37 aerobes (1.8/specimen); and 22 anaerobes (1.0/specimen). A total of 97 isolates were recovered from human bites (5.4/specimen): 44 aerobes (2.4/specimen); and 53 anaerobes (3.0/specimen). The most frequent isolates in both types of wounds were Staphylococcus aureus, anaerobic cocci and Bacteroides spp. Present only in animal bites were Pasteurella multocida, Pseudomonas fluorescens and M-5. Present only in human bites were Group A streptococci. Eighteen beta-lactamase-producing organisms were isolated in 16 wounds. This study demonstrates the polymicrobial aerobic-anaerobic nature of human and animal bite wounds.