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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-28

Correlation of burn injury and family history of burns among patients hospitalized at a public hospital in Nairobi, Kenya: A case–control study

1 Department of Surgery, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
2 Thematic Unit of Disease Prevention, Control and Health Promotion, School of Public Health, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Joseph Kimani Wanjeri
Department of Surgery, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 19676 KNH, Nairobi 00202
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijb.ijb_8_18

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Introduction: Burn injuries are physically and psychologically devastating types of trauma and are common among children especially in the home environment. They are more prevalent and are a public health problem in developing countries principally because of poor socioeconomic conditions. Effective prevention programs should be tailored for specific geographic locations and guided by the results of well-designed studies aimed at investigating local risk factors for burns. Studies targeting households can result in the identification of risk factors operating within family setups. Study Objective: To determine the association between occurrence of burn injury and family history of burns among patients hospitalized at a large hospital in a developing country in Africa. Methodology: This was age- and gender-matched case–control study comprising 202 patients admitted with burns (cases) and 202 nonsurgical patients (controls) admitted into the pediatric and medical wards. The study site was Kenyatta National Hospital, an 1800-bed national referral and teaching hospital in Kenya. The dependent variable was burn injury whereas the independent variables were family history of burn injury, history of hospitalization, and presence of a burn injury scar in the burnt family member. History of hospitalization following burn injury was termed as an indicator of severe burn injury having been sustained. Data Analytical Methods: The Chi-square test was used to identify the differences between the cases and control group variables, and logistic regression analysis and odds ratio were done to determine the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. Results: The male:female ratio was found to be 1:1, and burn injuries were found to be most common in the 0–4 years age bracket (n = 86, 42.6%), with the second most common age bracket being 20–40 years (n = 78, 38.6%). The injuries were mainly sustained in homes (n = 161, 80.9%) and the remainder at work (n = 15, 7.5%) and other places (n = 23, 11.6%). There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to family history of burns (odds ratio [OR] = 0.689, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.443–1.073, P = 0.062) and presence of a burn scar in previously burnt family members (OR = 1.083, 95% CI: 0.308–3.805, P = 1.0). There was, however, a statistically significant higher incidence of postburn injury hospitalizations among the cases than the controls (OR = 2.354, 95% CI: 1.064–5.208, P = 0.033). Conclusion: Family history of burn injury with hospitalization of those affected is an indicator of households at a higher risk for burn injuries. More of the cases had history of hospitalization for burn injury among their family members, indicating that they had more risk factors operating within their environment, or their practices made them more prone to burn injuries. Identification of the specific risk factors involved is key in the prevention of burn injuries in homes.

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