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Since 1963, the poison control center in Berlin has been the central helpline for the Berlin and Brandenburg population on the subject of poisoning. Furthermore, the institution performs a vital function in the field of poisoning prevention. The aim of this paper is to describe the development of the volume of consultations and their content from 1999 to 2018. Differences in the urban and rural origin of the callers as well as in the private or professional background of the inquiries are considered. The results will serve to improve prevention work. The case data of the poison control center (1999-2018) were evaluated and analyzed using descriptive statistical methods. Correlations between the categories "origin of call" (urban or rural area), "background" (private or professional), and "noxious agent" were analyzed using the Pearson's chi-squared test. The annual volume of consultations tended to increase. In particular, the increases are mainly related to inquiries regarding exposures of adults and seniors. The most frequent topics were poisoning with medications and products used in daily life. Inquiries about illegal drugs increased the most (average annual growth rate 6.3%). Inquiring persons with a private background can be helped directly in most cases (86.8%), so medical treatment is rarely recommended. Private persons call more frequently from urban areas, while calls from medical staff predominate in rural areas. Calls about pesticides, mushrooms, animals, and plants were more common in rural areas. Calls about food, foreign bodies, stimulants (alcoholic, caffeinated, and nicotine-containing foods/consumables), or illegal drugs, on the other hand, were received more frequently from urban areas.


Franziska Thal, Thomas Reinhold. Poisoning inquiries from Berlin and Brandenburg from 1999-2018: an urban-rural comparison]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz. 2021 Apr;64(4):491-500

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PMID: 33688973

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