Complications of Acute Toxicity following Ingestion of Disinfectants and Sterilisers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Forensic Medicine & Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

2 epartment of Forensic Medicine & Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt


Background: During COVID-19 pandemic there was increased use of disinfectants and sterilizers worldwide. Aim: to assess the prevalence and severity of complications of acute toxicity following ingestion of sterilisers and disinfectants during COVID19 pandemic and compares them to those before the pandemic. Methods: A hospital-based observational retrospective cohort study was done for all patients admitted in Poison Control Center -Sin Shams University Hospitals (PCC -ASUH) following overdose of sterilizers or disinfectants from 1/3/2019 to 1/3/2021. cases were sub-grouped into
group I including cases admitted before COVID outbreak in Egypt and group II cases admitted during COVID outbreak in Egypt. Results: High significant difference was found regarding age, gender, route, and manner of poisoning, with lower median age and a higher incidence of male cases recorded among the second group. There was predominance of Na hypochlorite poisoned cases in both groups, especially in the first (76.3%) compared to the second group (60.8%), followed by methanol. A higher incidence was recorded among group II cases regarding grade IV coma, shock, tachycardia, and respiratory distress. Statistically significant higher incidence of ICU admission (40%), longer duration of hospital stay, and a higher in-hospital mortality (10.8%) were also recorded among group II cases compared to group I. Conclusion: Higher incidence of accidental poisoning with disinfectants and sterilizers mainly Na Hypochlorite and methanol especially among children was recorded during COVID 19 pandemic with more complications and longer duration of stay compared with non-pandemic period. Recommendations: Proper storage of disinfectants and sterilizers used at homes and cautions must be taken to avoid using of methanol instead of ethanol.