Epidemiology of intentional self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka

Eddleston, M., Gunnell, D., Karunaratne, A., De Silva, D., Sheriff, M. R., & Buckley, N. A. (2005). Epidemiology of intentional self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 187(6), 583-584.

We investigated the epidemiology of intentional self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka by prospectively recording 2189 admissions to two secondary hospitals. Many patients were young (median age 25 years), male (57%) and used pesticides (49%). Of the 198 who died,156 were men (case fatality 12.4%) and 42 were women (4.5%). Over half of female deaths were in those under 25 years old; male deaths were spread more evenly across age groups. Oleander and paraquat caused 74% of deaths in people under 25 years old; thereafter organophosphorous pesticides caused many deaths. Although the age pattern of self-poisoning was similar to that of industrialised countries, case fatality was more than 15 times higher and the pattern of fatal self-poisoning different.

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