AfriTox® is a computerised database which helps doctors in Southern Africa diagnose and treat cases of poisoning in both adults and children. It has been developed in the Red Cross Children's Hospital Poisons Information Centre over several decades and now contains information on more than 40,000 potential poisons and their treatment. Although it deals with potential poisons which are encountered worldwide, it has a unique focus on local South African product names, plants, and poisonous animals and includes photographs to aid identification. It is the only source of information about the contents of local commercial products which is not available from sources in first-world countries, but which is essential for treating poisoning in southern Africa. This is especially important for children who account for 60-70% of poison exposures, and unlike adults, are exposed to a huge variety of household substances. AfriTox® is the source of information that underpins the poisons emergency telephone service and provides poisons information at over 40 treatment centres throughout South Africa.

The data on AfriTox are displayed in an easy-to-follow format so that the doctor can find out which substances are contained in a product which may be marked only with a trade name.  AfriTox lists the ingredients in a product in order of toxicity, ranking the most harmful "No 1". Toxicity data allow the doctor to work out if the patient has taken a sufficient amount of the substance to cause concern, and the treatment protocol outlines what symptoms and signs to expect and allows the doctor to decide what to do. For complex cases, more than 600 treatment protocols are available so that the doctor can follow the protocol stepwise on the computer screen, as treatment progresses over time. This is more useful and accurate than writing down a treatment protocol by hand during a phone call to the Poisons Information Helpline.

AfriTox® MinTox helps members of the public identify substances that are NOT toxic or which have a low risk of causing poisoning after a single ingestion. It is available via a link on the AfriTox website

AfriTox poisons information database for medical professionals is available in two versions

  • AfriTox® ONLINE: web-based access for doctors via smart phones, laptops or PCs. AfriTox® ONLINE is available to registered medical practitioners on payment of an annual subscription fee.
  • AfriTox® OFFLINE: information resides on a PC, downloaded and intermittently updated via the Internet. It is suitable for treatment facilities where many doctors need to access information on the same computer. It is available to private hospitals/organisations for an annual fee which is dependent on the number of sites where the database will be installed. AfriTox® OFFLINE is available to Government hospitals for no charge