Accidental Childhood Poisoning in Enugu, South???East, Nigeria

Author(s): Edelu BO, Odetunde OI, Eke CB, Uwaezuoke NA, Oguonu T

Background: Accidental childhood poisoning is one of the recognized causes of morbidity and mortality in children under the age of 5 years worldwide. The prevalence and type of substance ingested vary from place to place and over time. Aim: This study was conducted with the aim of ascertaining the frequency and pattern of accidental childhood poisoning in Enugu. Subjects and Methods: This retrospective study was conducted at the Emergency Paediatric Unit of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, South‑East, Nigeria from January 2003 to December 2012 (10 years). All the cases of childhood accidental poisoning that presented within the period were reviewed and important information extracted. Results: Sixty‑five cases of childhood poisoning were recorded during the 10‑year period, giving an incidence rate of 442 per 100,000 children. The mean age was 22.15 ± 11.7 months. Male:female ratio was 1.5:1. The prevalence was higher among those with low socioeconomic background. Kerosene poisoning was the most common agent. The overall mortality rate was 3.1% (2/65). Conclusion: Accidental childhood poisoning is common in Enugu, with appreciable mortality, with kerosene being the most common agent. We advocate regulatory policy on proper ways of storing kerosene and other harmful household chemicals and medications.


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