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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PEREZ-NUNEZ, Ricardo  and  VERA-LOPEZ, Juan Daniel. Unintentional asphyxia in Mexico: a hidden public health problem. Gac Sanit [online]. 2020, vol.34, n.6, pp.572-581.  Epub July 05, 2021. ISSN 0213-9111.


To characterize the epidemiology of unintentional asphyxias in Mexico from 1999 to 2017.


Secondary analysis of vital registries, three national health surveys and information from the safety inspection program of the Ministry of Health in Mexico were used to characterize fatal and non-fatal drownings (ICD-10: W65-W74) and other asphyxias including suffocation, chocking and strangulation (ICD-10: W75-W84), and to estimate the level of exposure to different risk factors within households and daycares.


100,834 deaths were registered, 44.66% were drowning and 77.17% male. Drownings mainly affect children and adolescents, occur in April, July and August, on Sundays, during the afternoon. Other asphyxias affect children and the elderly more frequently, occur mainly from December to February, on Sundays and from 4 to 6h. According to ENSANut-2012, 53,065 individuals experience a non-fatal asphyxia per year, 26.21% of them with permanent consequences in their health and wellbeing. Important risks of unintentional asphyxias are present in 38% of daycares and 80% of households analyzed.


Unintentional asphyxias are a major public health problem that needs to be urgently attended to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the 3.2. Evidence presented in this work constitutes an input to inform and orient efforts directed to tackle this problem.

Keywords : Mexico; Accidents; Asphyxia; Drowning; Epidemiology.

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