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Am J Public Health. 2009 Sep;99(9):1687-92. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.143222. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Carbon monoxide epidemic among immigrant populations: King County, Washington, 2006.

Author information

1
Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section, Public Health--Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA, USA. rgulati@u.washington.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We investigated an outbreak of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after a power outage to determine its extent, identify risk factors, and develop prevention measures.

METHODS:

We reviewed medical records and medical examiner reports of patients with CO poisoning or related symptoms during December 15 to 24, 2006. We grouped patients into households exposed concurrently to a single source of CO.

RESULTS:

Among 259 patients with CO poisoning, 204 cases were laboratory confirmed, 37 were probable, 10 were suspected, and 8 were fatal. Of 86 households studied, 58% (n = 50) were immigrant households from Africa (n = 21), Asia (n = 15), Latin America (n = 10), and the Middle East (n = 4); 34% (n = 29) were US-born households. One percent of households was European (n = 1), and the origin for 7% (n = 6) was unknown. Charcoal was the most common fuel source used among immigrant households (82%), whereas liquid fuel was predominant among US-born households (34%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Educational campaigns to prevent CO poisoning should consider immigrants' cultural practices and languages and specifically warn against burning charcoal indoors and incorrect ventilation of gasoline- or propane-powered electric generators.

PMID:
19608962
PMCID:
PMC2724456
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2008.143222
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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