The number of calls received by the Swiss poison hotline declined for the first time in several years. However, mushroom poisoning cases reached unprecedented levels.
In 2019, Tox Info Switzerlandexternal link provided advice in 39,211 poisoning-related cases, some 4.7% less than the previous year or 1,940 fewer cases. This is the first time in six years that the hotline experienced a decline according to data released on Monday.
A total of 93% of the requests were the result of exposure to a toxic substance, while 7% were of a preventive nature. Children were involved in 55% of the cases, some 84% of whom were preschool age. Household products and plants were the cause of 70% of all poisoning cases.
In children, poisoning was typically accidental, while in adults, it was mainly voluntary, with the majority suicide attempts (66%) followed by substance abuse (15%).
With 734 cases, mushroom poisoning reached a record high in 2019. Since 1992, cantons and municipalities haven’t been obliged to provide inspections by trained mycologists that weed out poisonous mushrooms from harmless and edible ones. This has led to a 10-15% drop per year in the number of mushroom inspection centres in the country according to some reports.
Requests for information related to poisoning in animals as well as consultations to veterinarians dropped in 2019.
The emergency hotline, which can be reached at 145, is available to the public and professionals 24 hours a day, all year round.