Infectious disease deaths drop in US: 5 study findings

Overall, deaths from infectious diseases are declining in the U.S. — but these improvements varied significantly among counties — according to a study published in JAMA.

The study examined mortality rates and trends by county from 1980 to 2014 from lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

To determine these rates and trends, the researchers used deidentified death records from the National Center for Health Statistics and population counts from the U.S. Census Bureau, NCHS and the Human Mortality Database.

Here are five study findings.

1. Between 1980 and 2014, the U.S. recorded more than 4 million deaths from infectious diseases.

2. Lower respiratory infections were the leading cause of death from infectious diseases and accounted for nearly 79 percent of the total deaths.

3. Diarrheal diseases were the only cause of infectious diseases mortality to increase from 2000 to 2014, while deaths from tuberculosis and meningitis decreased.

4. States between Missouri and Maine showed a number of counties with high diarrheal disease death rates. Deaths from lower respiratory infections also significantly varied among counties. East Feliciana Parish County, La., had the highest mortality rate at 88 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to only 7 deaths in Collier County, Fla.

5. The study found mortality rates from infectious diseases were significantly higher among men than women in all years. However, the decline from 1980 to 2014 was more substantial among men.

More articles on infection control: 
Baby boomers lag in hepatitis C screenings despite high infection rates
Michigan allocates $500k to boost vaccine efforts amid historic hep A outbreak
Rise in Indiana hepatitis A cases linked to Kentucky outbreak

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