Changing Patterns in Electrical Burn Injuries in a Developing Country: Should Prevention Programs Focus on the Rural Population?

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In the developing world, the incidence of electrical injuries has increased in the past few years. This study attempts to identify the causative and demographic risk factors that can help in formulating a targeted prevention program. The study was conducted prospectively and retrospectively from 2004 to 2009. Eighty-four consecutive patients with electrical burn injuries were analyzed for their demographic profile, age, sex, occupation, rural–urban distribution, mode of injury, and place of injury. The patients were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their awareness about electrical burn injuries, and the results were tabulated. The age of presentation ranged from 3 to 61 years. The most frequently affected age group was the second decade of life (33.3%). Of 84 patients studied, 71 were male and 13 female. Fifty-nine patients were from the urban area, while 25 were from the surrounding rural area. Students including children and adolescents were the most common affected single group (22.5%). Contact with live wire or contact with an object that was in contact with a live wire (secondary contact) accounted for 43 of 84 cases (51%). Home was the most common location where injury occurred (51.2%). Twenty-one of 59 cases (35.6%) reported from the urban area and 3 of 25 cases (12%) from the rural area had specific knowledge about prevention of electrical burn injury. Forty-one patients (69.4%) from the urban area and 22 (88%) from the rural area believed that adequate information regarding electrical burn injury was not available. Thirty-six patients (61%) from the urban area and 24 (96%) from the rural area believed that they would have behaved differently if the information had been available. The authors recommend that prevention programs should be modified to cater to the specific needs of the younger age groups and the rural population.

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