Date of Publication

Spring 1-17-2018


Introduction. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the second leading cause of non-medical poisoning death in the United States. Between 1999 and 2012, Vermont saw the highest rates of CO poisoning deaths in New England. Public education and the use of CO alarms have been identified as important prevention strategies. We developed and distributed a survey to assess public and health professional knowledge of CO.

Methods. A 21-question survey was designed, based on the validated Chicago Lead Knowledge Test, to assess knowledge about sources of CO exposure and symptoms and treatment of poisoning. Fifteen additional questions collected occupational and demographic information and preferred sources of educational information. Surveys were distributed over two months to the public, healthcare professionals, and emergency responders within Chittenden County, as well as physicians throughout Vermont. Survey responses were analyzed using SPSS.

Results. There were 256 respondents. Healthcare professionals performed better than public respondents overall (public: mean correct=15.69, SD= 2.83, N=104; healthcare provider and emergency responder: mean correct= 17.5, SD= 2.23, N= 152). The survey questions which were most frequently answered incorrectly related to treatment and sources of exposure, as well as the similarity of CO poisoning to symptoms of influenza. Respondents preferred to receive information from printed and internet sources.

Discussion. Medical professionals are more knowledgeable about carbon mon- oxide than the general public. Public education should include printed and online for- mats, focusing on important sources of exposure (particularly ice rinks), seeking treatment following symptoms, and similarity to flu symptoms.


Jan Carney

UVM Larner College of Medicine

Razelle Hoffman-Contois

Vermont Department of Health

William Irwin

Vermont Department of Health


Environmental Health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Health Professionals and Public Awareness of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Vermont