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Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal (DRSP) releases its report

Dévoilement du bilan de la Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal (DRSP) - Intoxication au monoxyde de carbone à l’école de Découvreurs le 14 janvier 2019

Carbon monoxide poisoning at École des Découvreurs on January 14, 2019

Overview of the event

On Monday morning, January 14, 2019, students and staff at École des Découvreurs (Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys) were victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. A leak in a faulty natural-gas fuelled heating system was the cause of the problem. Teams from emergency services and from the health and social services network responded to this incident.

The effects of carbon monoxide (CO) can appear immediately or over a few weeks. Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness may develop as a result of poisoning. This was the case for a number of students and teachers: 43 people were taken to hospital by ambulance. Symptoms can last over a period of time, or appear a few days or weeks after CO poisoning. For this reason, medical follow-up was carried out at the school on February 19, 27 and 28. The goal was to provide post-exposure follow-up and medical management to children who still had symptoms linked to their exposure on January 14. 

Report of the DRSP 

The health and social services network acted rapidly to provide the best possible follow-up for students and staff who were poisoned. Today public health is releasing its report, which contains a summary of actions taken in collaboration with Sainte-Justine hospital, Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de service sociaux (CIUSSS) de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ). Data related to this event are also included.

The current report only covers the students. Staff members will be the subject of a subsequent report.

Follow-up on students’ health

Most of the 265 students potentially exposed to carbon monoxide on January 14 are in good health; however, on the day of the health evaluation, 24 children (9.1 %) still had symptoms associated with carbon monoxide exposure. This figure corresponds to the numbers reported in the scientific literature: 3% to 17%

Recommendations

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the public health department recommends that fuel-burning equipment be inspected once a year by a qualified professional. In addition, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed near potential CO sources inside buildings.

Ask us your questions

If you have any questions about this report or carbon monoxide in general, e-mail them to us by Friday, June  21 at 4 p.m., or post them on our Facebook page. An expert at the public health department will then develop a FAQ page that will be posted on our Website. 

Useful information

Source

Public, News, Carbon monoxide poisoning, Professionnel, Réseau de la santé, Direction de santé publique, CHU Sainte-Justine, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

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Last Update : 20 September 2019