Jos Journal of Medicine

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Profile of hospital Admissions of childhood poisoning at a North-central Nigerian tertiary health care centre

DD Shwe, B Toma, SI Pate, I Adedeji, S Oguche


Background: Childhood poisoning is an important but preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the paediatric subpopulation. There is the continuous need to describe the pattern of childhood poisoning and to create public awareness on the common agents of poison in this environment.
Objectives: To determine the pattern of childhood poisoning and to bridge the existing knowledge gap on childhood poisoning in North-Central Nigeria.
Patients and methods: A retrospective study of case records of children admitted and treated for childhood poisoning at the Emergency Paediatrics Unit of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos over a five year period (February 2008-February 2013) was undertaken. The data extracted from the case records included bio-data, date of admission, type and route of poison exposure, level of education and occupation of parents of affected children, treatment received and outcomes.
Results: Twenty-six (0.94%) out of a total of 2,770 children were admitted and treated for poisoning. Their ages ranged from 5 months to 13 years. Children aged 0 to 2 years accounted for 12 (46.2%) cases with a mean age of 1.88 years. There were 10 (38.5%) male and 16 (61.5%) female with a male: female ratio of 0.62:1. Organophosphate and kerosene accounted for 9 (34.6%) and 6 (23.1%) of all cases respectively. Twenty-four (92.3%) of the poisoning were accidental while 2(7.7%) were intentional. Oral route was the commonest route of poison exposure in 20 (76.9%) and 24 (92.3%) of all cases which occurred in their home environment. gastrointestinal system symptoms were the most frequent clinical presentation 16 (61.5%). Thirteen (50.0%) of the affected victims presented to the hospital in 1-6 hours of poison exposure. Indications for hospital admissions in decreasing order of frequency were dehydration 7 (26.9%), seizures 6 (23.1%) and coma 6 (23.1%). Six (23.1%) of patients received palm oil/milk as home remedies prior to hospital presentation. There was a mortality rate of 3.8% from carbon monoxide poisoning. Mean duration of hospital stay was 1.87 days.
Conclusions: Organophosphate is the commonest cause of childhood poisoning in North-Central Nigeria and children aged 0-2 years are the most vulnerable age group for accidental poisoning while older children aged 13 years and above for intentional poisoning. Therefore, there are needs to increase and sustain public health awareness on childhood poisoning and the government to provide poisoning centres and improve standards of living.

Keywords: Pattern, admissions, poisoning, children, North-Central Nigeria

Jos Journal of Medicine, Volume 7 No. 2

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