The epidemiology of childhood poisonings in Cyprus

Maria Koliou, Chrystalla Ioannou, Kyriaki Andreou, Alexandra Petridou, Elpidoforos Soterakis Soteriades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Information on childhood poisonings in Cyprus is limited. Our objective was to examine the epidemiology of poisonings among children in Cyprus. All children up to 15 years of age admitted for poisoning to the Archbishop Makarios Hospital in Nicosia, Cyprus between 2005 and 2008 were included in our study. All hospital poisoning records were reviewed. A total of 257 children were admitted for poisoning. The mean age of children was 3.1 years, of which 83.7% were below the age of 5 years old, while 53% were boys. The poisoning hospitalizations accounted for about 3% of all admissions to the pediatric department during the study period (4 years). The annual cumulative incidence of childhood poisoning hospitalizations was 116 per 100,000 children. Medications accounted for 46.1% of all poisonings, the most frequent cause being paracetamol (9.8%), cardiovascular medications (5.3%), antitussive medications (4.5%), and other painkillers (4.1%). Another 37.6% of hospitalizations involved household products such as household cleaning products (11.8%), petroleum products (11.0%), and rodenticides (5.7%). Among children who ingested petroleum distillates, 55.6% developed clinical symptomatology. The vast majority of cases were accidental (93.8%). Suicidal cases involved children 8-14 years old, mainly girls, and the most frequent poisoning ingested was paracetamol (46.7%). Poisoning hospitalizations represent an important cause of morbidity among children in Cyprus. Preventive strategies should include the education of caregivers on the handling of medications and household products as well as legislation requiring child-resistant packaging for all medications and household products including petroleum distillates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume169
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Children
  • Cyprus
  • Epidemiology
  • Poisonings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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