Epidemiology of Organophosphate Poisoning in the Tshwane District of South Africa

L. L. Razwiedani*, P. G.D. Rautenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Organophosphate poisoning is a major public health problem in South Africa. Individuals get exposed to organophosphate in both the domestic and industrial spheres. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted using retrospective, secondary data of organophosphate poisoning cases over a 3-year period, reported at the Tshwane District surveillance office. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel, and Epi Info version 7 was used for descriptive statistics. Results: A total of 207 cases were reported with ages ranging from 10 months to 59 years. Most of the cases were men (58.9%). Intentional poisoning accounted for 51% of cases. Unintentional poisoning accounted for 21.7% of cases, and 26.5% of cases had unknown circumstances of poisoning. A significant number (50.2%) of intentional poisonings were suicide related. Nonsuicidal cases accounted for 47.4% of cases, and deliberate unlawful poisoning accounted for 2.4% of cases. The mortality rate for the whole group was 3.4%. Conclusions: Improvement in data collection on organophosphate poisoning is essential to properly measure the burden of the problem. More effective regulatory controls for pesticide use are needed in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health Insights
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Organophosphate poisoning
  • gender
  • policy
  • public health intervention
  • suicide
  • surveillance


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