Maine CDC Health Advisory
December 22, 2023
Carbon Monoxide Alert for Health Care Facilities
Hospital emergency departments, emergency medical services, and outpatient providers should be on alert for carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is investigating 18 reports of CO poisoning from eight separate incidents linked to improper generator use after the recent storm. CO poisoning is a reportable condition in Maine and these events have been reported to the Maine CDC. The Maine CDC investigates cases of suspected CO poisoning to identify exposure risk factors and improve outreach efforts to prevent further poisonings.
All of these CO poisonings are due to improper operation of gasoline-powered generators such as operation in enclosed spaces like garages or basements. As single portable gas-powered generator can produce as much deadly CO gas as 100 idling cars. Improper use of portable gas-powered generators in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces can quickly cause CO poisoning, which can be fatal.