Shack fires: a consequence of urban migration.


Shack fire burns are the second most common reason for admission of patients to the burns unit in Cape Town. A retrospective analysis of 99 patients between January 1993 and June 1995 was undertaken to investigate the demographics and mortality associated with shack fire burns. There were 58 males and 41 females with an average age of 34 years (range 13-17 years). The average total burn surface area (TBSA) was 31 per cent (range 3-98 per cent) and in 67 of these patients a full-thickness component to the burn was noted. The upper limbs and head and neck were the most commonly burnt areas. Inhalation injury affected 61 patients, 18 of whom required admission to an intensive care unit for assisted ventilation due to respiratory failure. Thirty nine patients (39.4 per cent) died. Shack burns are a specific entity associated with significant morbidity and a high mortality. The injuries had a major impact on the victim's life and prevention is the best form of treatment.

Cite this paper

@article{Godwin1997ShackFA, title={Shack fires: a consequence of urban migration.}, author={Yvette Godwin and D. A. Hudson and Cecil E. Bloch}, journal={Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries}, year={1997}, volume={23 2}, pages={151-3} }