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Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2010 Sep;17(3):161-8. doi: 10.1080/17457300903453112.

Injury deaths among Finnish residents travelling abroad.

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Hjelt Institute, Department of Forensic Medicine, & National Institute for Health and Welfare, Injury Prevention Unit, Helsinki, Finland.


The increasing international mobility raises the possibility of foreign nationals dying abroad. Here, a descriptive, retrospective and population-based study of deaths abroad among Finnish residents from 1969 to 2007 is presented. The data were collected from the Statistics Finland data based on certificates of cause of death issued after repatriation of the corpse and after review of medical documents or a medico-legal autopsy. The frequency of injury deaths, proportional mortality rates (PMRs) and mortality risk estimates (MREs) were measured. During the study period, 6894 Finnish residents died abroad. Spain, Sweden and Thailand were the top three destination countries for number of deaths, accounting together for 40.3% of all the deaths. Cardiovascular diseases were the most common cause of deaths. The overall injury deaths represented 26.7% of all deaths abroad and occurred at a higher proportion than in Finland (PMR: 3.3). The most common injury deaths were traffic accident and drowning, which together represented more than 50% of all unintentional injury deaths. High PMRs were found for traffic accidents in Russia, Germany and the US and for drowning in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. The MRE for injury deaths was 73.5 per 100,000 person-years of exposure. Finnish travellers abroad are a population subgroup with a high risk of injury death. Common travel health interventions must be backed by actions to prevent injuries abroad, particularly traffic accident and drowning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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