• Investigation of an outbreak of acute respiratory illness due to exposure to chlorine gas in a public swimming pool Nota de Campo

    Almagro Nievas, Diego; Acuña Castillo, Rafael; Hernández Jerez, Antonio; Robles Montes, Alberto

    Abstract in Spanish:

    Se diseñó un estudio de casos y controles para investigar el accidente químico ocurrido en una piscina pública en el verano de 2005 y describir los factores ambientales responsables, analizar el efecto del cloro gas y valorar la evolución clínica y funcional del aparato respiratorio. Las intervenciones fueron las siguientes: inspecciones ambientales, encuesta epidemiológica (variables sociodemográficas), ubicación en el momento del accidente, olor percibido y seguimiento clínico y espirométrico de la función respiratoria. Se encuestaron 65 casos y 48 controles. El suceso se produjo al mezclar accidentalmente ácido clorhídrico e hipoclorito sódico, lo que generó cloro gas. Los síntomas predominantes fueron tos y disnea. El riesgo de enfermar en niños era 10 veces mayor si tenían una enfermedad respiratoria previa y 4 veces superior si estaban a una distancia inferior a 40 m del lugar del accidente. Todos los casos evolucionaron hacia la curación, excepto uno que tenía antecedentes asmáticos.

    Abstract in English:

    A case-control study was designed to investigate a chemical accident that occurred in a swimming-pool in the summer of 2005. The aim was to describe the environmental factors involved in the accident, to assess the effect of chlorine gas on the respiratory system, and to perform a clinical and spirometric follow-up. The following interventions were carried out: environmental inspection, epidemiologic survey (including sociodemographic variables), location at the time of the accident, perception of an abnormal smell, and clinical and spirometric outcomes to assess respiratory function. Sixty-five cases and 48 controls were identified and interviewed. The accident was produced by accidental admixture of hydrochloric acid with sodium hypochlorite resulting in chlorine gas release. The main clinical symptoms were dyspnea and cough. The risk of becoming ill was 10-fold higher in children with a previous lung disease and was 4-fold higher when the distance from the chlorine source was less than 40 m. All cases recovered completely, except one who had a history of asthma.
Ediciones Doyma, S.L. Barcelona - Barcelona - Spain
E-mail: gs@elsevier.com