4195.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 3:42 PM

Abstract #27490

Organophosphate poisoning in urban Zimbabwe

XinQi Dong, MD and Melissa Andrea Simon, MD, MPH. Department of Internal Medicine, Yale Medical Center, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT 06504

Organophosphate poisoning is a major global health issue. According to the World Health Organization, one million serious accidental poisonings and two million suicides attempts involving pesticides occur yearly worldwide. Organophosphates are the most commonly used pesticides in Zimbabwe, yet there are no current studies investigating its trends. The objectives of this study were to examine patterns of organophosphate poisoning in Zimbabwe.

We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study to examine organophosphate poisoning in Parirenyatwa, a major urban hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. Of the total 185,828 patientsí records, we uncovered 599 cases of organophosphate poisoning from January 1995 through November 2000. Variables such as sex, age, season, geographic area, and intent were examined. Total mortality rates were calculated.

These data reveal a steady increase in organophosphate poisoning. The numbers of admissions for organophosphate poisoning increased by more than 320% over six years. The male and female admissionsí rates were similar (48% vs. 52%). 82% of the patients admitted were below age thirty-one and 86% were from urban areas. Suicide is the predominant reason for poisoning (74%). 62% of admissions under age eleven were due to accidental poisoning. Mortality of organophosphate poisoning is 8.3% over the last six years.

Our data, although representing a microcosm of the extent of poisoning, are consistent with multiple prior studies. In the background of these alarming trends exist a physical, mental and social state of Zimbabwean society wrought with travesties. Organophosphate poisoning is increasing uncontrollably, and a multi-sectoral approach is needed to curb this escalation.

Learning Objectives: N/A

Keywords: International Public Health, Pesticide Exposure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 129th Annual Meeting of APHA