Improving Outreach and Surveillance Efforts Following a Large-Scale Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Wisconsin

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Abstract

Objective:

In December 2014, the largest carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in Wisconsin's history occurred at an ice arena. Following this event, the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking (WI EPHT) Program sought to improve outreach and surveillance efforts.

Methods:

WI EPHT designed and distributed educational materials on CO poisoning prevention and surveyed stakeholders to gauge the effectiveness of outreach efforts. To enhance surveillance, WI EPHT utilized data from the Wisconsin Poison Center (WPC) to generate real-time alerts of anomalous numbers of CO-related calls.

Results:

WI EPHT found that 42% of stakeholders reviewed the outreach materials, and 1 ice arena had installed a CO detector as a result. CO alerts were developed using WPC data and are now routinely used in statewide public health surveillance.

Conclusion:

WI EPHT staff improved CO poisoning prevention outreach and saw a positive response among stakeholders. This work demonstrates ways that health agencies can improve outreach and surveillance for CO poisoning. Improvements in these areas can bolster public health response and may prevent CO-related illness and injury.

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