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Introduction: Morbidity and mortality associated with pesticide poisoning is a major public health issue, especially in lower and middle income countries, including India. Timely understanding of poisoning trends is required for improved prevention. The objective of the present study was to analyze the trend of poisoning cases in Ahmedabad, India in the period of 2015-2017.
Methods: Detailed history, including demographic data, risk factors, poisoning history, agents involved, and occupational influence were collected for poisoning cases reported to the Poison Information Centre in Ahmedabad. Cholinesterase activity and HPTLC method for detection of sanguinarine in urine were used to investigate the agents of poisoning. Non-parametric tests, such as Chi-square test and Mann-Whitney U Test were applied to test statistical significance between the groups. All statistical analysis was carried out using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.
Results: A total 1373 poisoning cases were investigated. The incidence and fatality rate was found to be higher in males compared to females (M/F ratio 1.89:1). About 91.62% of the poisoning were through the oral route. Erythrocyte cholinesterase activity assay results indicated that 41.29% of the cases were due to organophosphorus/carbamate poisoning. Insecticides were found to be the agent of poisoning in 26.29% cases, and 11.07% of all the cases were agricultural workers. Poisoning with medications, household pesticides and chemicals were also reported. Few cases of food poisoning with sanguinarine were detected.
Conclusion: The data presented here suggest that pesticides used for agriculture are the major source of poisonings. Implementation of usage guidelines, educating farmers and vulnerable population, and finding novel alternatives for highly toxic chemicals may be helpful in decreasing the number of poisoning cases.
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