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CO risk at US hotels

People visiting the US for a holiday need to make sure the hotels and motels they stay in have carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring equipment installed, a new report suggests.

A study published in of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine points out that over 200 people a year die in the US as a result of CO poisoning, yet many hotels have still not installed monitoring equipment.

Since 1989, there have been 68 reported CO poisoning incidents at US hotels, which have put around 800 holidaymakers and staff at risk of injury or death.

Despite this, the research found that just 11 per cent of hotels where incidents occurred had CO monitoring equipment in place.

"The number of reported incidents of poisoning per year has not decreased over this 15-year interval…While the risk of CO poisoning from a one-night stay to an individual guest is small, the accumulated lifetime risk to individuals who travel frequently would be higher," explained Lindell K. Weaver, the medical director of the LDS Hospital Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

"This risk could approach zero with effective CO prevention measures.

"Despite evidence of efficacy, CO alarms have not been installed widely by the lodging industry, even at properties where guests and employees have been injured by CO."

Dr Weaver added that people holidaying in the US could consider investing in a small, portable CO monitor to protect themselves.

Official figures show that around five per cent of all holidays taken by Brits in 2003 were to the US.