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Clin Toxicol (Phila) ; 60(10): 1145-1155, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2037267


BACKGROUND: Public health emergencies often affect Poison Control Centre (PCC) operations. We examined possible effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on call volume, call characteristics, and workload in European PCCs. METHOD: All 65 individual European PCCs were requested to supply data on the number of calls and call characteristics (caller, age groups, reason and specific exposures) from March to June in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (Part 1). Number of calls with specific characteristics was normalised to all calls. Calls (N) and call characteristics (%) were compared between 2020 and 2018/2019 (average), within PCCs/countries and grouped. Correlation between call volume and COVID-19 cases per PCC/country was examined. All PCCs received a survey on workload (Part 2). Parts 1 and 2 were independent. RESULTS: For Part 1, 36 PCCs (21 countries) supplied 26 datasheets. PCCs in the UK and in France merged data and supplied one datasheet each with national data. Summed data showed an increase of 4.5% in call volume from 228.794 in 2018/2019 (average) to 239.170 in 2020 (p < 0.001). Within PCCs/countries, calls significantly increased for 54% of PCCs/countries (N = 14/26) and decreased for 19% (N = 5/26), three of which (N = 3/5) only serve medical professionals. Correlation between call volume and COVID-19 cases was (non-significant) positive (Rho >0.7) in 5/26 PCCs/countries (19%), and negative in 6/26 (23%). Call characteristics (median proportion of grouped data in 2018/2019 vs. 2020) changed: fewer medical professionals called (40 vs. 34%, p < 0.001), calls on intentional exposures decreased (20 vs. 17%, p < 0.012), as did calls on patients between 13 and 17 years (5 vs. 4%, p < 0.05). Calls on specific exposures increased; disinfectants from 1.9 to 5.2%, and cleaning products from 4.4 to 5.7% (p < 0.001). For Part 2, 38 PCCs (24 countries) filled the survey on workload (number/length of shifts and time on PCC duties), which increased in 23/38 PCCs (61%), while 10/38 (26%) worked with fewer employees. CONCLUSIONS: Obtaining aggregated European PCC data proved challenging but showed an increase in overall call volume and workload during the first COVID-19 wave. Call characteristics changed including fewer calls from professionals and more calls on specific exposures. Within single PCCs/countries a variety of effects was observed.

COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Humans , Poison Control Centers , COVID-19/epidemiology , Public Health , Europe/epidemiology
Jama-Journal of the American Medical Association ; 327(3):286-286, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1695638
Toxicology Letters ; 350:S19, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1595463


On behalf of EAPCCT COVID-19 and PCCs activities WG The pandemic has also crystallized the role of clinical toxicology and identified a new role for clinical toxicologists. Poison Control Centers (PCC) and clinical toxicologists have been committed on several fronts: prevention, including campaigns, collaboration with Government Agencies, toxicovigilance, etc. Our activity in addition to prehospital triage of intoxicated patients helped to stabilize the flooded emergency system. An ad hoc EAPCCT Covid-19 Working Group was established so as to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on European PCCs activities. A pilot study was performed in 4 European PCCs [Copenhagen, Pavia, Utrecht, Zurich] to evaluate critical points on methods, data collection and resources. The study was then extended to all European PCCs to investigate the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic during the first wave on the activities of European PCC. All 65 European PCCs listed in the WHO directory were asked to supply epidemiological data on poisonings (e.g., number of calls, patients, type of caller (medical professional or public), type of exposure (accidental, intentional (all), intentional suicide attempt), and age groups). Investigated exposures were disinfectants, household cleaning products (according to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) classification) and drugs, including antivirals. Data was analyzed during a 4-month period (March-June 2020) and compared with the previous two years. Furthermore, all members of EAPCCT were asked to participate in a survey on organizational changes during the COVID-19 pandem-ic.Results: The study included data from 36 PCCs from 21 countries (55% of EU PCCs). 60 % of Head of PCCs from 24 countries submitted pandemic related organizational data. Twenty per cent of PCC saw an increase in length of shifts while 42% saw an increase of total number of shifts. 25% indicated an increase of time spent on duties other than PCC activities, such as activities in the emergency departments (35%), intensive care units (12%), and nursing wards (9%). Over 50% of PCCs lacked protocols to manage PCC staffing upon massive sick leave. In contrast safe working protocols were in place in nearly every PCC. No centers reported receiving special funds for activities arising from the pandemic. Conclusion: European PCCs activities vary in different countries. A substantial improvement can be made in many areas such as data harmonization, establishing a European database of poisonings, and an improved network and cooperation of European PCC, and timely toxicovigilance especially in times of global emergencies.

Toxicology Letters ; 350:S19-S19, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1519294