Deaths from Infectious Diseases Drop in United States

Lower respiratory infections remained the most lethal infectious disease in the United States.

Although infectious disease mortality rates in the US have declined at a progression influenced by advancing vaccines and therapies in the past 3 decades, there is still a concerning trend of mortality rate disparity among counties, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle, recently compared the overall deaths from particular infectious diseases in the US in 2014, in comparison to rates from 1980. Though the total annual deaths increased from 72,220 (95% UI; 69,877-74,712) to 113,650 (95% UI; 108,764-117,942) in that span, the rate per 100,000 persons decreased due to raised population.

The per-population mortality decrease was relevant in most common infectious diseases, including lower respiratory infections (25.79% [95% UI; 22.02-29.43]), diarrheal disease (483.96% [95% UI; -17.66-622.24]), meningitis (69.55% [95% UI; 66.98-71.52]), hepatitis (40.74% [95% UI; 32.30-48.49]), and tuberculosis (83.31% [95% UI; 81.97-84.50]).

HIV/AIDS, which was reported as the cause of death in 7.04% of all US infectious disease-related deaths in 2014, increased by 25.82% (95% UI; 23.78-28.03) from 1985 to 2014. However, researchers noted this increase reflects that most US counties had no reported deaths from the disease at baseline. Its mortality rate peaked in 1994, at 15.87 per 100,000 persons (95% UI; 15.73-16.01).

In 2014, lower respiratory infections remained the most lethal infectious disease in the US, accounting for 78.8% of all disease-related deaths. Per 100,000 persons, it registered at 26.87 (95% UI; 25.79-28.05) deaths. Its absolute mortality inequality among counties — as gauged by the difference between 10th and 90thpercentile of distribution — was the largest among diseases, at 24.5 deaths per 100,000 persons. HIV/AID’s relative mortality inequality ratio of 10.0 between counties in the 90th and 10th percentile was the greatest among observed infectious disease.

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