Epidemiology of intentional self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka

Michael Eddleston, David Gunnell, Ayanthi Karunaratne, Dhammika de Silva, M H Rezvi Sheriff, Nick A Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We investigated the epidemiology of intentional self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka by prospectively recording 2189 admissions to two secondary hospitals. Many patients were young (median age 25 years), male (57%) and used pesticides (49%). Of the 198 who died,156 were men (case fatality 12.4%) and 42 were women (4.5%). Over half of female deaths were in those under 25 years old; male deaths were spread more evenly across age groups. Oleander and paraquat caused 74% of deaths in people under 25 years old; thereafter organophosphorous pesticides caused many deaths. Although the age pattern of self-poisoning was similar to that of industrialised countries, case fatality was more than 15 times higher and the pattern of fatal self-poisoning different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-4
Number of pages2
JournalThe British Journal of Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerium
  • Paraquat
  • Pesticides
  • Poisoning
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Health
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sri Lanka


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