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Hum Exp Toxicol. 1992 Sep; 11(5): 335-40.

A pattern of acute poisoning in children in urban Zimbabwe: ten years experience.

Kasilo OM, Nhachi CF.

Department of Pharmacy, University of Zimbabwe Medical School, Avondale, Harare.

1. A retrospective analysis was performed to evaluate the epidemiology of poisoning in children based on admissions to six of Zimbabwe's main urban hospitals over a 10-year period from 1980 to 1989 inclusive. 2. A total of 2873 cases were children aged between 0-15 years. This constituted 47.8% of poisoning cases from all age groups (6018) recorded during the study period. 3. All of the children (0-15 years) had signs and symptoms of poisoning on admission and, depending on their severity, were admitted to a ward or to an intensive care unit. A total of 4.9% (141) died. Most of those who died were suicide cases among the 11-15 year age group and accidental poisonings among the 0-15 year old group. 4. The under 0-5 age group constituted the majority of cases (75.4%) in the 0-15 age group, and most were between 1 and 3 years old. The 6-10 and 11-15 age groups formed 12.6% and 12% of the cases, respectively. The sex distribution showed that 53.1% were male. 5. Most incidences were accidental (93.2%). Suicides and parasuicides accounted for 1.9% and there were only two homicides. 6. The commonest toxic agents were: household products (27.2%), traditional medicines (23.%), venoms from snake bites and insect stings (16%) and therapeutic agents (12.4%). Of the therapeutic agents the most frequently implicated were antipsychotics 18.9%, analgesics 16.8%, anti-infectives 11.7%, anticonvulsants (8.2%) and benzodiazepines (7.7%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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