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'Killer' canines: the morbidity and mortality of ebino in northern Uganda

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In northern Uganda, unerupted primary canine teeth are commonly extracted because they are believed to cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. This practice, known as ebino, is performed under very crude conditions often using unclean tools. To evaluate the morbidity and mortality of complications related to ebino, we retrospectively analysed discharge records from the paediatric ward of Lacor Hospital, Gulu. In the period 1992–98, ebino-related complications, mainly sepsis and anaemia, were among the leading causes of admission (= 740) and hospital death (= 156, case fatality rate = 21.1%, proportional mortality rate = 3.3%). Discouraging the adoption of deeply rooted traditional practices that are potentially hazardous to health should be a public health priority in northern Uganda. This could be done by educating not only the general public, but also traditional healers and community and religious leaders, who could convey the knowledge to their people.
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Keywords: Africa; ebino; hospital

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: St. Mary's Hospital Lacor, Gulu, Uganda 2: Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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