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Open Access Research article

Trends in poisoning hospitalization and mortality in Taiwan, 1999-2008: a retrospective analysis

Wu-Chien Chien1*, Jin-Ding Lin1, Ching-Huang Lai1, Chi-Hsiang Chung2 and Yu-Chen Hung2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, National Defense Medical Center, No. 161, Section 6, Min-Chuan E. Rd., Neihu, Taipei, 11490, Taiwan

2 Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, No. 161, Section 6, Min-Chuan E. Rd., Neihu, Taipei, 11490, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:703  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-703

Published: 16 September 2011



Subjects with non-fatal poisoning may be left with permanent, disabling sequelae, and the resultant long-term use of medical services smay be a burden on the public health care system. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of poisoning in Taiwan from 1999 to 2008.


We analyzed poisoning-related data of mortality rates sourced from official Taiwanese vital statistics and of hospitalization from the National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database. The data were age-adjusted to the year 2000 Standard Population to determine 10-year hospitalization and mortality rate trends, which we stratified according to gender, age, and poisoning agent. Poisson regression was used to investigate the trends.


There were 20,260 deaths and 210,021 hospitalizations related to poisoning, with mortality and hospitalization rates of 8.21 per 100,000 and 86.30 per 100,000 population, respectively. Males exhibited higher rates of mortality and hospitalization as a result of poisoning, with the highest risk in those aged 65 years or older. Medicinal drugs followed by pesticides were the two most common agents of poisoning. There was an increasing trend of both poisoning-related mortality and hospitalization rates during the study period, with a greater increase occurring in the hospitalization rate than in the mortality rate.


We found the males aged 65 years or older were at highest risk of poisoning, with medicinal drugs being the leading cause. Hospitalization rates increased more than mortality rates over the 10-year period. Appropriate poisoning prevention programs need to be developed. We should strengthen case management and improve access to health services to increase survival in cases of poisoning.

poisoning; mortality; hospitalization; trends