A total of 50 people die due to carbon monoxide gas poisoning in England and Wales every year, a new research has warned.

A report published by the Department of Health also showed that almost 4,000 people go to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) and 200 get admitted to hospitals after inhaling the gas.

The analysis has warned of the detrimental effects of carbon monoxide.

Addressing the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies said: "Carbon monoxide is a silent killer which leads to 50 deaths every year. We can all prevent these avoidable tragedies by making sure gas and fuel appliances are properly installed and maintained and fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm that meets European Standard EN 50291."

"As temperatures begin to drop and we turn the heating up, we should all be vigilant and check heating appliances are working properly and are well ventilated," Davies said.

Symptoms and Effects

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be difficult to identify. The symptoms can be mistaken easily for flu or food-poisoning. If people are given advice to go home, wrap-up warmly and turn up the heating, it can lead to fatal consequences.

"The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to those for flu and food poisoning including persistent headaches, sickness and tiredness," Davies added.

The new estimate of 4,000 attendances at A&E is of concern as prolonged exposure to levels that produce only minor symptoms may, in some cases, be associated with lasting neurological effects, such as memory loss and difficulties in concentrating.


Carbon monoxide is released when a carbon-containing fuel such as gas, oil, coal, petrol or wood, does not burn fully because not enough air is available. The majority of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to faulty combustion heating and cooking appliances.

Winter is the season when incidences are at their height. Awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning at A&E's and GP surgeries can save lives and prevent injury.