Nonfatal traffic accidents related to alcohol in León, Nicaragua 2004-2008

Julio Rocha, Andres Herrera, Jaime Sapag, Norman Giesbrecht, Robert Mann

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Introduction: ninety percent of traffic deaths occur in middle and low income countries and are a leading cause of mortality in young people.
Objectives: describe the characteristics of patients with nonfatal injuries caused by traffic events related to alcohol abuse who were treated in the emergency room .
Methodology: the data were selected from the Injury Surveillance System (EH). The data were obtained from clinical and epidemiological history of emergency cases including general and specific data on the chain of events and alcohol high risk drinking that led to the nonfatal injury.
Results: the overall incidence rate of traffic injuries was 211.5 per 10,000 inhabitants, and higher among those 20-34 years. Of the injured, 53% were classified as drivers and of those 70% were cyclists, 17% motorcyclists, and 13% other vehicles. Overall, alcohol was present in 4.8% of those injured. Victims were more likely to be under the influence of alcohol on weekends than other days: for males 4.6:1 and for women 3.24 (95% CI, 2.40-4.38, p <0.05). Almost all injured persons were not wearing a helmet or a seat belt. The head and the upper and lower parts of the body were the most affected.
Conclusions: we support the design and implementation of prevention plans that should be implemented in conjunction with communities and authorities in order to protect vulnerable users of public roads and reducing alcohol abuse among the population.

Key words: traffic accidents; alcohol; injuries surveillance system; Nicaragua.

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