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Epidemiological Study of Carbon Monoxide Deaths in North Jordan 2009–2018

Ali M. Shotar, Rashed Shatnawi, Mahmoud Halalsheh, Hadeel Abu-El-Rub, Nahd A. Hussein, Sara Shoter, M’otaz Obeidat, O’la Abu Al-Asal.

Background: Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning rate has stayed the same around the globe over the last quarter of a decade. However, the number of people who die compared to the number of people who get poisoned, and the mortality rate has declined dramatically. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the severity of the CO poisoning problem in Jordan and compare it to other countries and to search for any related factors that could affect the death rate. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in the Forensic Medicine Teaching Centre, Irbid, Jordan for a 10-years period (2009 –2018). 5,725 autopsy reports were assessed, and only 71 CO-related death cases were selected and analyzed based on the following risk factors: age, gender, year and month of death, nationality, address, the settings that the cases occurred in, carboxyhemoglobin saturation (COHb%) and the presence of alcohol and drugs in blood. Results: The rate of deaths due to CO poisoning showed a general decline over the reviewed years. Most victims were males (70.4%). And although the death rate showed an increase with age, the age group between 20-year-old and 39-year-old accounted for 38% of all cases. Most cases happened in the winter months, December, January, and February. 87.1% of the cases occurred at home settings. The average COHb% was 68%±13% and ranged from 12%-83%. Conclusion: Although the incidence is decreasing with time, CO is still a threat that must be dealt with. As all cases in our study were accidental cases and good preventive measures, such as good CO detectors and good air flow in the places that hold devices that could generate CO, and proper education to the public, especially in the colder regions of the country, could prove useful in decreasing the incidence of CO deaths further.

Key words: Carbon monoxide, CO, Poisoning, Accidental, Death, Jordan.

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