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Trop Med Int Health. 2008 Jun;13(6):845-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2008.02067.x. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

Accidental paraffin poisoning in Kenyan children.

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  • 1Kemri-Wellcome Trust Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.


A serious and common accident in rural Kenyan homesteads is accidental ingestion of paraffin when it has been mistaken for water and offered to a young child. Here we report the incidence, parental practices and outcome of severe paraffin poisoning, requiring admission at Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya. Over a 2-year period, 48 children (0.5% of all admissions) were admitted with kerosene poisoning, constituting 62% of all poisoning cases. All cases were accidental. Ten per cent had induced vomiting. One child (2%) died. We suggest these data support assessment followed by implementation of practical and affordable measures to prevent paraffin poisoning.

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