Organophosphate poisoning in urban Zimbabwe
Nhachi, Charles F. B.
Kasilo, Ossy M.
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Between 1969 and 1989, 978 organophosphate (OP) poisoning cases were recorded and analysed. Of these, 776 cases (79,8 percent) were admissions recorded and analysed retrospectively at the six referral hospitals of Zimbabwe. The remaining poisoning cases were from a rural hospital and formulating and packaging factories and large-scale commercial farming areas. Of the total, 459 cases (47,2 per cent) were suicides and/or parasiticides, whereas 241 (24,8 percent) were accidental cases. Of the latter, 7 and 14,4 per cent were due to industrial and agricultural exposure respectively. Among the 776 admission cases, 12 (1,2 per cent) were homicidal, and 66 (6,8 per cent) were of undetermined nature and mortality rale was recorded as 81 (8,5 per cent). All studies associated with OP poisoning carried out over this period reveal that the age group 2 1-50 years is significantly more prone to poisoning than all other age groups. The most common first line of treatment was a combination of ipecacuanha syrup plus atropine, with atropine alone a pool' second. Pesticides are used in agriculture and in public health programmes to control pests and vector-borne diseases that are found on food and commercial crops and as infestations in domestic and commercial buildings and on man and domestic animals. In Zimbabwe, some of the pests that cause problems are termites, while grubs (mai/.e), red bollworms, miles, citrus pyslla, black beetles and others (Kasilo el ol., 1991).