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Occupational Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Wisconsin: Results From a Statewide Electronic Disease Surveillance System and From the Wisconsin Poison Center, 2018-2021.

Public Health Reports 2023 November 5
OBJECTIVES: Prevention methods for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in Wisconsin address occupational and nonoccupational exposures together, but differences between the settings could inform new approaches to preventing occupational CO poisonings. We described occupational CO poisonings in Wisconsin from July 1, 2018, through July 1, 2021, using surveillance data from the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System and Wisconsin Poison Center.

METHODS: We identified cases of CO poisoning from the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System and Wisconsin Poison Center. Occupational CO poisonings were records where "workplace" was recorded as the location of exposure. We excluded records classified as suspect/not a case, those missing laboratory results or information on exposure source/location, and intentional poisonings. We compared characteristics between occupational and nonoccupational settings using odds ratios (ORs), and we estimated crude incidence rates of occupational exposures by occupation.

RESULTS: We identified 614 cases of CO poisoning, of which 168 (27.4%) were occupational exposures. When compared with patients with nonoccupational exposures, patients with occupational exposures were more likely to be male (OR = 3.8; 95% CI, 2.4-6.1), Hispanic (OR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.4-4.2), and younger (mean difference [SD] = 6.6 [20.9]). Several CO sources were significantly associated with occupational poisonings: forklifts (OR = 58.4; 95% CI, 13.9-246.1; P  < .001), pressure sprayers (OR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.3-4.4; P  = .003), and other gasoline-powered tools (OR = 3.8; 95% CI, 2.3-6.3; P  < .001). The natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupation group had the highest crude incidence rate-45.0 poisonings per 100 000 full-time equivalent employees.

CONCLUSIONS: Incorporating data from the Wisconsin Poison Center improved data quality, but surveillance is limited by underreporting. Creating strategies to increase reporting would allow for a more comprehensive understanding of occupational CO poisoning.

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