BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the epidemiology of burn-related fatalities is limited, with most previous studies based on hospital and burn centre data only.
AIMS: To describe the epidemiological characteristics of all burn-related fatalities in Australia and New Zealand, and to identify any trends in burn-related fatality incidence over the study period.
METHODS: Data from the National Coronial Information System, including data for pre-hospital and in-hospital burn-related fatality cases, was used to examine the characteristics of burn-related fatalities occurring in Australia and New Zealand from 2009 to 2015. Burn-related fatality rates per 100,000 population were estimated, and incidence trends assessed using Poisson regression analysis.
RESULTS: Of the 310 burn-related fatalities that occurred in Australia and New Zealand, 2009 to 2015, 41% occurred in a pre-hospital setting. Overall, most burn-related fatality cases were fire related, occurred at home, and were of people aged 41 – to 80 years. One quarter of all burn-related fatalities were a result of intentional self-harm. The population incidence of all burn-related fatalities combined, and for NSW, decreased over the study period.
CONCLUSIONS: This study has identified the importance of examining all burn-related fatalities. If this is not done, vulnerable population subgroups will be missed and prevention efforts poorly targeted.
McInnes, J.A., Cleland, H.A., Cameron, P.A., Darton, A.,Tracy, L.M., Wood, F.W., Singer, Y. & Gabbe, B.J. (accepted 03/07/2019). Epidemiology of burn-related fatalities in Australia and New Zealand, 2009-2015. Burns.