Surveillance for carbon monoxide poisoning using a national media clipping service

Am J Emerg Med. 2001 Mar;19(2):106-8. doi: 10.1053/ajem.2001.19999.


Using a novel method to review carbon monoxide (CO) exposures in the US, the role of CO detectors in prevention of CO-related deaths was studied. Using a national media clipping service, CO poisonings reported in the US were analyzed. The impact of CO detectors was investigated through nonfatal outcomes attributable to the presence of CO detectors and case fatality rate comparison among cities with and without CO detector ordinances. There were 4,564 CO exposures resulting in 406 (8.9%) fatalities. Of the exposures 2,617 (57.3%) occurred in the home, accounting for 374 (92.1%) deaths. Faulty heating systems constituted 2,540 (55.6%) exposures and 186 (45.8%) deaths, with alternate heating sources responsible for 389 (8.5%) exposures and 104 (25.6%) deaths. Cities with CO detector ordinances showed lower case fatality rates as reported in the media than those cities without ordinances (P <.001). There were 1,008 (24.2%) survivors who attributed their survival to the presence of a CO detector. A media clipping service provided insight into CO poisoning demographics. Despite its limitations, this tool may calibrate the positive impact of CO detectors on the prevention of CO-related deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / etiology
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / mortality
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Information Services*
  • Journalism*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Protective Devices*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Seasons
  • United States / epidemiology