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Epidemiology of burn injuries globally

Author
Michael D Peck, MD, ScD, FACS
Section Editor
Marc G Jeschke, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS

INTRODUCTION

Burn injuries are among the most devastating of all injuries and a major global public health crisis [1,2]. Burns are the fourth most common type of trauma worldwide, following traffic accidents, falls, and interpersonal violence [3,4]. Approximately 90 percent of burns occur in low to middle income countries, regions that generally lack the necessary infrastructure to reduce the incidence and severity of burns [5,6]. In this topic, we use the classification of countries by income adapted from the World Bank for the World Development Report [7].

This topic reviews the epidemiology and distribution of burns worldwide. The global costs of burns and prevention strategies to reduce the risk of burn injuries are discussed elsewhere. (See "Global costs of fires and burns" and "Prevention of fire and burn injuries".)

EPIDEMIOLOGY

Unintentional and intentional burn injuries vary across age groups, gender, income and global region.

Site and setting — Most burn injuries occur in a domestic setting, with cooking as the most common activity [8,9]. Pediatric burns occur more commonly in the home (84 percent) and while children are unsupervised (80 percent) [1,10]. Adults are equally likely to sustain a burn in the home, outdoors or at work. Burns to adult females occur mostly at home, while burns to adult males occur mostly in outdoor or work locations [11,12]. Older adults are most likely to sustain a burn in the bathroom, followed by the kitchen [13].

Armed conflict increases the incidence of burns, as shown by a survey of burns in Baghdad that demonstrated a rise in incidence from 30 per 100,000 in 2003 to 117 per 100,000 after invasion [14].

                       

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Mon Jan 04 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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