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Lightning fatalities in the Transkei sub-region of South Africa



Lightning fatalities in the Transkei sub-region of South Africa



Medicine Science and the Law 47(2): 161-164



Lightning is a particularly unsettling product of bad weather. It kills more people than other natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, but, because lightning usually kills people one at a time, it tends to be an underrated hazard. High risk groups are uneducated, unsheltered and rural people. This study was carried out to determine the incidence of lightning fatalities in the Transkei sub-region. It is a review of records between 1993 and 2004 from the medico-legal autopsies at Umtata General Hospital (UGH). During the study period there were 10,860 autopsies performed on those who died of trauma and other unnatural circumstances which included 151 (1.4%) lightning fatalities. This represents 0.31 deaths per million per year. The highest (0.5/million) was in 1999, and the lowest (0.13/million) in 1997. The age of the victims ranged from 1 to 82 years, with a mean of 22 years. Males and females were almost equally represented (50%). The highest number of deaths (26.5%) was in the age group of 11 to 20 years, and the lowest number (2.7%) in the age group of 70+ years. There is a high incidence of lightning fatalities in the Transkei sub-region of South Africa. People need to be educated to disregard the myths of lightning strike.

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Accession: 054127600

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17520962

DOI: 10.1258/rsmmsl.47.2.161


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