What is the global incidence of drowning?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Annually, an estimated 372,000 people die from drowning, which accounts for drowning to be a major public health problem worldwide. Global estimates of drowning are likely a significant underestimation of the actual public health impact. No annual international incidence of associated neurological injury has been reported. [1]

Several of the most densely populated nations in the world fail to report nonfatal drowning incidents. This, along with the fact that in many instances no attempt is made to resuscitate at the scene [26] and that many cases are never brought to medical attention, renders accurate worldwide incidence approximation and classification virtually impossible. [27] The overall incidence of drowning has an estimated range of 20-500 times the rate of fatal drowning.

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