Background: Any substance, which makes life better, if not used wisely and with proper care, would become dangerous to human life. These chemical substances can be termed poisons. A poison can be defined as a substance (solid, liquid, or gas), which if introduced into a living body or brought into contact with any part thereof would produce disease or even death by its constitutional or local effects or both. Pattern of poisoning in a particular region depends on various factors like availability and access to the poison, socioeconomic status of an individual, educational status, knowledge on pesticides, and their proper usage. In India, due to variations in geographical conditions and differences in religious and cultural practices, the incidence and pattern of poisoning vary from place to place, hence it is better to perform regional studies periodically to recognize the extent and evolution of the problem.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional and observational study, which was conducted in tertiary care teaching institutes in Western India. The study includes 318 deceased persons due to poison consumption brought for postmortem examination.
Results: Incidence of death due to poisoning was more in the third (31.7%) and second decade (22.6%) of life as compared to both extremes of age. The majority of victims were males (64.2%) as compared to females (35.8%). It was also observed that most victims belonged to lower socioeconomic class (58.8%) with educational status from illiteracy to primary education. Majority were farmers commonly due to insecticidal poisoning.
Conclusion: Pattern of poisoning in the present study corresponds with the pattern found in most other studies. Majority of victims were male and agricultural poisons were the most common type. Our study suggests that establishment of poison information centers, availability of antidotes in rural area, and creating awareness among people help effectively to resolve the problem.
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