Objectives: To estimate the cumulative incidence rate of acute pesticide poisoning in the year 2000 among Nicaraguan subjects over 15 years of age.
Methods: Data on pesticide exposure and health effects were assessed in a nationally representative survey. Based on self-reported cases, we estimated the 1-year incidence rate and the number of expected cases of acute pesticide poisonings in Nicaragua.
Results: Among the 3169 survey respondents, we identified 72 persons who self-reported one episode of acute pesticide poisoning in 2000. Of these, 65 cases (90%) were related to occupational exposure, five (7%) to domestic exposure and two (3%) to intentional exposure. The cumulative incidence rate/100 individuals of pesticide poisonings in Nicaragua in 2000 was 2.3 (95% CI 1.7 to 2.8). This corresponds to 66 113 cases (95% CI 51 017 to 81 210). The highest rate was found among males in rural areas, particularly among farmers and agricultural workers.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates an extremely high risk of acute pesticide poisoning in Nicaragua. Considering this, comprehensive measures should be implemented to reduce adverse health effects.
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Funding: This research was supported by the PLAGSALUD Project (Environmental and Occupational Aspects of Pesticide Exposure in Central America, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and the Danish Agency for International Development) and the Research Department of the Swedish International Cooperation Agency.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: The Nicaraguan National Autonomous University Bioethical Committee in Leon, Nicaragua, reviewed and approved the research protocol.