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November 14, 1980

Deaths From Asphyxia Among Fishermen

Author Affiliations

From the Special Studies Branch, Chronic Disease Division, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Drs Glass and Allegra); the US Coast Guard (LT Ford); and the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, Dallas (Mr Markel). Dr Glass is currently on assignment at the Cholera Research Laboratory, Dacca, Bangladesh.

JAMA. 1980;244(19):2193-2194. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310190045022

On July 19, 1978, two crewmen aboard a shrimp trawler died and the captain was hospitalized after being exposed to a toxic atmosphere in the ship's hold. Examination of the Coast Guard records of deaths at sea since 1970 led to the identification of 11 incidents involving 32 deaths by asphyxia. All deaths occurred in the unventilated holds of ships in warm waters and during warm months of the year. Asphyxia in the unventilated holds of ships is an underrecognized hazard. We recommend that fishermen be informed of this hazard, that ships' holds be ventilated before they are entered, and that safety protocols be provided to rescuers of persons found unconscious in a ship's hold.

(JAMA 244:2193-2194, 1980)