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Five-year epidemiological trends for chemical poisoning in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Sami Hamdan Alzahrani,a Nahla Khamis Ibrahim,a,b Mohammed Abdel Elnour,c Ali Hassan Alqahtanic

From the aDepartment of Family and Community Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; bEpidemiology Department, High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt; cPublic Health Administration, Ministry of Health, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

How to cite this article:

Alzahrani SH, Ibrahim NK, Elnour MA, Alqahtani AH. Five-year epidemiological trends for chemical poisoning in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Ann Saudi Med 2017; 37(4): 282-289.

DOI: 10.5144/0256-4947.2017.282


BACKGROUND: Poisoning is a significant global public health challenge in terms of morbidity and mortality. We conducted this study because of the lack of large population-based studies on chemical poisoning in Saudi Arabia.


OBJECTIVE: Describe epidemiological trends, associated factors, and outcomes of chemical poisoning cases reported to the Jeddah Health Affairs Directorate, Saudi Arabia. 


DESIGN: Descriptive, retrospective medical record review.


SETTING: Population database for the Jeddah Governorate.


METHODS: For chemical poisoning cases reported from January 2011 to December 2015, data was collection using a standardized, validated data collection sheet. Data was collected on personal characteristics, type of chemical poisoning and outcome.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Descriptive epidemiological data and statistical comparisons.


RESULTS: For 994 chemical poisoning cases, an increasing trend was observed from 2011 to 2013 followed by some reduction during 2014 and 2015. The highest percentage of cases occurred during July followed by March for the cumulative total cases by month for all years. More than half of the cases involved males (55%), and children aged less than 5 years (56.6%). About three-fourths of the cases occurred accidentally and through ingestion. The most common poisonous agents were detergents (36.0%). Poisoning with addictive drugs occurred in 13 cases (1.3%). Only 1.1% of cases received a poisoning specific antidote, and the same percentage died because of poisoning. Gender, age, nationality, the route and the circumstances of the exposure were significantly associated with the type of poisoning (P<.001). 


CONCLUSION: Most of chemical poisoning cases were accidental, occurred during summer, were caused by detergents, affected children <5 years of age, and occurred via ingestion. Educational programs are needed to raise public awareness about poisoning, and to minimize the access of children to poisonous agents, especially detergents. Such measures could contribute toward a further reduction of the chemical poisoning burden.


LIMITATIONS: Some key statistics not reported. Information bias may have affected results.



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