HealthDay News — There were declines in mortality from most categories of infectious diseases between 1980 and 2014 in the United States, according to a study published in the March 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Charbel el Bcheraoui, PhD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues examined age-standardized mortality rates and trends by county from lower respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, hepatitis, and tuberculosis from 1980 to 2014. 

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The researchers identified 4,081,546 deaths due to infectious diseases between 1980 and 2014. A total of 113,650 deaths or a rate of 34.10 per 100,000 persons were due to infectious diseases in the United States in 2014, compared with 72,220 deaths or a rate of 41.95 deaths per 100,000 persons in 1980; this represented an 18.73 percent decrease. The leading cause of infectious disease mortality in 2014 was lower respiratory infections, accounting for 26.87 deaths per 100,000 persons (78.80% of total infectious disease deaths). Among counties, there were considerable differences in the death rates from all infectious diseases. The largest absolute mortality inequality among counties was seen for lower respiratory infection (difference between the 10th and 90th percentile of the distribution, 24.5 deaths per 100,000 persons).

“Between 1980 and 2014, there were declines in mortality from most categories of infectious diseases, with large differences among U.S. counties,” the authors write.

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