Introduction According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burns result in the loss of approximately 18 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and more than 250,000 deaths each year, more than 90% of which are in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The epidemiology of these injuries, especially in the WHO-defined African Region, has yet to be adequately defined. Methods We performed a systematic review of the literature regarding the epidemiology of thermal, chemical, and electrical burns in the WHO-defined African Region. All articles indexed in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Global Health, and the Cochrane Library databases as of October 2015 were included. Results The search resulted in 12,568 potential abstracts. Through multiple rounds of screening using criteria determined a priori, 81 manuscripts with hospital-based epidemiology as well as eleven manuscripts that included population-based epidemiology were identified. Although the studies varied in methodology, several trends were noted: young children appear to be at most risk; most individuals were burned at home; and hot liquids and flame are the most common aetiologies. Discussion While more population-based research is essential to identifying specific risk factors for targeted prevention strategies, our review identifies consistent trends for initial efforts at eliminating these often devastating and avoidable injuries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine