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European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 169, Issue 7, pp 833–838 | Cite as

The epidemiology of childhood poisonings in Cyprus

  • Maria KoliouEmail author
  • Chrystalla Ioannou
  • Kyriaki Andreou
  • Alexandra Petridou
  • Elpidoforos Soterakis Soteriades
Original Paper

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.

Keywords

Poisonings Children Epidemiology Cyprus 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge Dr. Olga Kalakouta, Coordinator of the National Committee of the Ministry of Health for the prevention of childhood injuries, for her help regarding the Health campaigns and other current efforts toward the introduction of legislation for the prevention of injuries in Cyprus.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no financial and/or other relationship that may lead to a conflict of interest.

Authors’ contributions

MK and ESS conceived of the idea for the project. MK, CI, and KA collected and processed the data. AP performed and MK and ESS supervised the statistical analyses. All authors reviewed and interpreted the statistical analyses. MK and ESS wrote the first draft of the manuscript, while all authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript. All authors read and approved of the final version of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Koliou
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Chrystalla Ioannou
    • 1
  • Kyriaki Andreou
    • 1
  • Alexandra Petridou
    • 2
  • Elpidoforos Soterakis Soteriades
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsArchbishop Makarios HospitalNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Open University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Department of Occupational and Environmental MedicineCyprus Institute of Biomedical Sciences (CIBS)NicosiaCyprus
  4. 4.Department of Environmental HealthHarvard School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology (EOME)BostonUSA

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