Injury Mortality Study Shows 5.5 Percent 1999-2004 Increase

A new CDC study in the Dec. 13 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report finds that national injury mortality rose 5.5 percent from 1999 to 2004. The largest increase in deaths came from those ages 20-29 and 45-54. The total injury mortality rate includes deaths from unintentional injury, suicides, homicides, and injuries of undetermined intent. If a death could not be definitively attributed to unintentional injury or suicide, it is considered to be of undetermined intent. Homicide rates remained stable throughout the 1999-2004 period.

"We're very concerned anytime we see an increase in premature deaths," said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "We don't know if this is an indication of a trend, but it is something that needs to be further examined."

The 45-54 age group experienced the largest increase in injury mortality rates with a 25 percent increase, accounting for an additional 8,000 deaths in 2004. In comparison, the 20-29 age group had an 8 percent increase in total injury death rates. Unintentional poisonings accounted for more than 50 percent of the increase in each group.

Shared risk factors could contribute to the increase in multiple injury categories and age groups, Arias said. For example, the recent increase in prescription drug abuse during the same time period in these age groups could have contributed to an increase in mortality due to suicide, homicide, unintentional poisoning, and other types of unintentional injury. Prevention programs that focus on such shared risk factors could help reduce the number of injury-related deaths.

For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/poisoning.htm.

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