Introduction: This is the 34th Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' (AAPCC) National Poison Data System (NPDS). As of 1 January 2016, 55 of the nation's poison centers (PCs) uploaded case data automatically to NPDS. The upload interval was 9.50 [7.33, 14.6] (median [25%, 75%]) min, facilitating a near real-time national exposure and information database and surveillance system.
Methods: We analyzed the case data tabulating specific indices from NPDS. The methodology was similar to that of previous years. Where changes were introduced, the differences are identified. Cases with medical outcomes of death were evaluated by a team of medical and clinical toxicologist reviewers using an ordinal scale of 1-6 to assess the Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF) of the exposure.
Results: In 2016, 2,710,042 closed encounters were logged by NPDS: 2,159,032 human exposures, 54,019 animal exposures, 490,215 information cases, 6687 human confirmed non-exposures, and 89 animal confirmed non-exposures. US PCs also made 2,718,022 follow-up calls in 2016. Total encounters showed a 2.94% decline from 2015, while health care facility (HCF) human exposure cases increased by 3.63% from 2015. All information calls decreased by 12.5% but HCF information calls increased 0.454%, and while medication identification requests (Drug ID) decreased 29.6%, human exposure cases were essentially flat, decreasing by 0.431%. Human exposures with less serious outcomes have decreased 2.59% per year since 2008 while those with more serious outcomes (moderate, major or death) have increased by 4.39% per year since 2000. The top five substance classes most frequently involved in all human exposures were analgesics (11.2%), household cleaning substances (7.54%), cosmetics/personal care products (7.20%), sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics (5.84%), and antidepressants (4.74%). As a class, sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotics exposures increased most rapidly, by 10.7% per year (2088 cases/year), over the last 15 years for cases showing more serious outcomes. The top five most common exposures in children age 5 years or less were cosmetics/personal care products (13.3%), household cleaning substances (11.1%), analgesics (9.21%), foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (6.48%), and topical preparations (5.07%). Drug identification requests comprised 28.1% of all information calls. NPDS documented 1977 human exposures resulting in death; 1492 (75.5%) of these were judged as related (RCF of 1 - undoubtedly responsible, 2 - probably responsible, or 3 - contributory).
Conclusions: These data support the continued value of PC expertise and need for specialized medical toxicology information to manage more serious exposures, despite a decrease in cases involving less serious exposures. Unintentional and intentional exposures continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. The near real-time, always current status of NPDS represents a national public health resource for collecting and monitoring US exposure cases and information calls. The continuing mission of NPDS is to provide a nationwide infrastructure for surveillance for all types of exposures (e.g. foreign body, infectious, venomous, chemical agent, or commercial product), and the identification and tracking of significant public health events. NPDS is a model system for the real-time surveillance of national and global public health.