An autopsy based retrospective study was conducted from January 2000 to December 2006 at Manipal in Southern India, and a profile of the victims of poisoning was prepared. The study was done to understand the magnitude and pattern of all poisoning fatalities in relation to the manner of death in Manipal region of Southern India. The study included a total of 198 cases of fatal poisoning. Self-poisoning was reported in 92.9% cases. Fatal accidental poisoning was seen in 6.1% cases. Homicide by poisoning was not reported during the study period. Uncertainty regarding the manner of death due to poisoning was observed only in two cases. Males were predominantly affected (71.2%). The majority of the victims were in the 3rd decade (28.3%) of life. The age of the victims ranged from 2 to 82 years with a mean age of 38.4 years. While majority of the victims consumed poison during daytime, most of the poisoning fatalities were reported during summer months. Organophosphate compounds were implicated in 68.7% of the total poisoning related fatalities. Males in the 3rd to 5th decades were prone to self-poisoning with organophosphate compounds. Accidental poisoning deaths were uncommon and poisoning was not a preferred method of homicide in this region. Our approach to the study reveals that quantitative chemical (toxicological) analysis is required to further strengthen and improve the databases of epidemiology of poisoning in our region. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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