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A clinico-epidemiological Study of acute Self-poisoning by different Types of herbicidal Substances used in agricultural Fields: A Study from Patients admitted in a Tertiary Care Hospital in West Bengal

J Assoc Physicians India. 2022 Aug;70(8):11-12. doi: 10.5005/japi-11001-0058.


INTRODUCTION: Herbicides are the chemical compounds used to control the growth of unwanted plants or to eliminate them. The common poisonous herbicides available in India are paraquat, glyphosate, pretilachlor, etc. Ingestion of herbicides with suicidal intention is common in rural India and West Bengal but very scanty literature is available.

METHODOLOGY: We conducted a unicentric, hospital-based, noninterventional, cross-sectional study comprising 50 consecutive patients to estimate the morbidity, case fatality, and clinical features of acute suicidal poisoning of different herbicides used in agricultural fields. Data were collected from history, clinical features, and laboratory findings. Proper statistical method was used for data analysis.

RESULTS: Most of the study population were from 26 to 40 years age group (48%), followed by 13-25 years age group (34%). Paraquat was ingested by 64%, followed by pretilachlor (20%) and glyphosate (16%). Common symptoms were vomiting (60%), abdominal pain (40%), throat discomfort (26%), oral ulcer (24%), decreased urination (50%), and respiratory distress (30%). In laboratory investigation, 64% patients had deranged liver enzymes, 58% patients had acute kidney injury, and 30% patients had alveolar damage. A total of 62% patients were discharged after recovery and 38% patients died. Case fatality rate of paraquat was 56.2%, glyphosate was 12.5%, and pretilachlor was nil (0%).

CONCLUSION: Herbicides like paraquat and glyphosate are associated with high morbidity and case fatality. Paraquat has the highest case fatality rate. Pre-emergent herbicide pretilachlor is relatively safe.

PMID:36082722 | DOI:10.5005/japi-11001-0058

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