The influence of the 2010 World Cup on the Tygerberg Poison Information Centre

Van Hoving D.J. ; Veale D.J. ; Gerber E. (2011)


Introduction. The soccer World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, but data on the effect of sporting events of such a magnitude on the service demand on Poison Information Centres (PICs) are limited. Objective. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of the 2010 World Cup on the workload of the Tygerberg Poison Information Centre (TPIC). Methods. Data were collected prospectively for three time periods during 2010: (1) 31 days preceding the World Cup (10 May-10 June); (2) 31 days during the World Cup (11 June-11 July); and (3) 31 days after the World Cup (12 July-11 August). The calls received during 2010 were compared to calls received during corresponding time periods in 2008 and 2009. Collected data included date and time, caller's location and medical background, patient's age and gender, intent of exposure, route of exposure and specific toxin class. Results. During the study, 3888 calls related to human poisoning were received (1162 in 2010, 1412 in 2009 and 996 in 2008). The mean daily call volume between 2010 (12.49; 95% CI 11.57-13.42) and 2009 (13.23; 95% CI 12.30-14.15) did not differ significantly (p = 0.25). The mean daily call volume during the World Cup was 11.13 (95% CI 9.59-12.67; n = 345) compared to 14.26 (95% CI 12.71-15.80; n = 442) for the similar period in 2009 (p = 0.08). The mean daily call volume before and after the World Cup was 12.74 (95% CI 11.20-14.29; n = 395) and 13.61 (95% CI 12.07-15.16; n = 422); p = 1.00 and p = 0.39, respectively, when compared with the World Cup period. Discussion. An unexpected finding of this study was that the hosting of the 2010 World Cup resulted in fewer calls to the TPIC. This decrease could be attributed to the high visibility of policing, an extended school holiday and the positive attitudes of South Africans towards making the World Cup a success. Conclusion. PICs should be consulted during the planning stages of major sporting events. Contingency plans should still be in place to overcome any unexpected rise in call volume. © 2011 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

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