SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
ROTHER, Hanna-Andrea. Improving poisoning diagnosis and surveillance of street pesticides. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.6, pp. 485-488. ISSN 2078-5135.
An effective surveillance system is required to reduce pesticide exposures and poisonings, especially from street pesticides (illegal, unlabelled, and decanted agricultural pesticides used predominately for urban household purposes). Poisoning from any pesticide class, not only organophosphates, constitutes a medically notifiable condition in South Africa. Current practice, however, is to report only organophosphate cases, resulting in severe under-reporting. The lack of data concerning the link between poisonings and street pesticides has led to the mistaken assumption that urban populations are not at risk from significant pesticide exposures and poisonings. Without accurate statistics, healthcare professionals and policy makers are unaware of the contribution of street pesticide poisonings to the overall health burden. Accurate diagnosis is a prerequisite for notification and subsequent surveillance. An algorithm has been developed to enable healthcare professionals to improve the diagnosis and notification of pesticide poisonings.