Hospitalizations due to poisonings in Slovenia – epidemiological aspects
INTRODUCTION: Poisonings continue to be an important public health problem. Here we review the incidence and trend of poisoning by medicaments, drugs and biological substances in Slovenia during a five-year period, 2001–2005. We also investigate the etiological and demographic characteristics of poisoning cases in the Slovenian population, based on acute-poisoning admissions to hospitals in Slovenia.
PATIENTS, MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective study comprised all cases of poisoning admitted to Slovenian hospitals during a five-year period. Data were obtained from the Annual Health Statistics and from the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia.
RESULTS: Poisonings by medicaments, drugs and biological substances were found to represent more than half (61%) of the poisonings treated in hospitals. Female poisonings were recorded at a higher rate than male poisonings. The majority of cases occurred in the age group 15–49 years but age groups 1–3 years and >65 years were also shown to be at risk. Children under 3 years of age were poisoned by accident, whereas most cases in teenagers and adults were intentional poisonings (attempted suicide); in the oldest age group, rates of intentional and unintentional poisonings were similar. Although there was a significant downward trend in the overall number of cases from 2001 to 2005, the incidence in children aged 1–3 years and in persons >65 years remained the same.
CONCLUSIONS: Poisoning is an important health problem. A multidisciplinary approach is required so that preventive measures may be increased for all groups at risk.