QuickStats: Number of Deaths Resulting from Unintentional Carbon Monoxide Poisoning by Month and Year — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2010–2015

March 6, 2017

During 2010–2015, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest numbers of deaths each year occurring in winter months.

In 2015, a total of 393 deaths resulting from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred, with 36% of the deaths occurring in December, January, or February.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6608a9.htm

 


Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2010–2014

December 20, 2016
Dr. Margaret Warner, Senior Epidemiologist

Dr. Margaret Warner, Senior Epidemiologist

Questions for Margaret Warner, Senior Epidemiologist  and Lead Author on “Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2010–2014.”

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths?

MW: From our routine mortality statistics, we know that drug overdose death rates are increasing, and we have some insight into the classes of drugs involved. This report presents findings from a new method we developed to identify the specific drugs involved in drug overdose deaths, which gives us a more complete and granular understanding of the problem.


Q: Do you have 2015 data on drug overdose deaths? If not, when do you anticipate this being released?

MW: NCHS just released the 2015 mortality data at the beginning of December. CDC released an MMWR last week describing drug overdose deaths in 2015 and some of the drug classes involved. NCHS is currently analyzing the 2015 literal text data using the new method to report on the specific drugs, and plan to have those results available soon.


Q: How has the number of drug overdose deaths changed from 2010 to 2014?

MW: From 2010 through 2014, the number of drug overdose deaths per year increased 23%. During this 5-year period, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving heroin more than tripled, and the rate of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine more than doubled.

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled in a single year (from 2013 to 2014). Fentanyl went from the 9th most common drug involved in overdose deaths in 2013 to the 5th most common in 2014.


Q: What are the most prevalent drugs involved in drug overdose deaths?

MW: The 10 drugs most frequently involved in overdose deaths included the following opioids: heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, methadone, and hydrocodone; the following benzodiazepines: alprazolam and diazepam; and the following stimulants: cocaine and methamphetamine.


Q: Were there any findings that surprised you?

MW: We suspected that multidrug toxicity played a role in drug overdose deaths, and this analysis revealed that nearly half of these deaths where at least one drug was mentioned on the death certificate, involved more than one drug. We were surprised that the top 10 drugs were often mentioned in combination with each other. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the reporting on specific drugs improved with the percentage of death certificates mentioning at least one specific drug increasing from 67% in 2010 to 78% in 2014.


Mortality in the United States, 2015

December 8, 2016

Questions for Jiaquan Xu, Epidemiologist and Lead Author on “Mortality in the United States, 2015.”

Q: Is it true that death rates in the U.S. have been increasing over the past few years?

JX: Not exactly. The age-adjusted death rate for total US population increased 1.2% from 724.6 per 100,000 standard population in 2014 to 733.1 in 2015. This was the first significant increase since 1999. We have seen the decrease in mortality for most race/ethnic groups in most of years since 2006. Especially the rates decreased significantly for all male, all female, non-Hispanic white male, non-Hispanic white female, non-Hispanic black male, non-Hispanic black female, Hispanic male, and Hispanic female in 2014 from 2013.


Q: What are some of the reasons why the death rate increased between 2014 and 2015?

JX: We don’t know exactly what caused the increase in mortality in the United States from 2014 to 2015. The results have shown that the age-adjusted death rates increased for 8 (heart disease, chronic lower respiratory, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and suicide) of the 10 leading causes of death. Only decrease in mortality among 10 leading causes of death in 2015 from 2014 was for cancer. Death rates increased significantly for 20 states and decreased for 1. The change for the rest of states were not significant.


Q: Do your findings for 2015 suggest we have reached a peak as far as increases in life expectancy goes?

JX: We don’t think we have reached a peak in life expectancy. Many people died of non-age-related causes because they have aged. Those deaths are preventable. For example, there are 146,571 deaths caused by accidents which accounted for 5.4% of total deaths in 2015. About 65% of deaths from these unintentional injuries were those aged under 65. Among accidental deaths, unintentional poisoning accounted for 32.4 % and motor vehicle traffic accidents accounted for 24.5%. We also don’t know if the increase in mortality in 2015 will continue in 2016. But preliminary data have shown that the mortality for most of the 10 leading causes of death in 2015 went down in second quarter from first quarter, 2016 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/vsrr/mortality-dashboard.htm#trends). But it is too early to say that the mortality in 2016 will go down or continue going up. We will see what happens when the 2016 final file is available.


Q: What accounts for the decline in life expectancy at birth in 2015 from 2014?

JX: For the total US population, life expectancy decreased 0.1 year from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015, mainly because of increases in mortality from the 13 causes of death among the 15 leading causes of death, such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, septicemia, , chronic liver disease, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids. From 2014 to 2015, life expectancy decreased 0.1 year for females largely because of increases in mortality from 12 of 15 leading causes of death such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, unintentional injuries, influenza and pneumonia, septicemia, hypertension, chronic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, suicide, and pneumonitis due solids and liquids. The deaths from those 12 leading causes of death accounted for 52.9% of total female deaths.

Life expectancy declined 0.2 year for males largely because of increases in mortality from 11 of 15 leading causes of death such as unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic liver disease, septicemia, Parkinson’s disease, Homicide, and hypertension. And about 65% of accidental deaths were under 65 years old, while 81% of suicides were aged 15-64, and 95% of homicides were under 65 years. More young people dying from preventable causes drags life expectancy down.


Q: Is it unusual that mortality rates for so many leading causes of death increased in 2015?

JX: We haven’t seen the increase in mortality from so many leading causes of death for a long time. The age-adjusted death rates increased significantly for 3 of 10 leading causes of death in 2014, 2 in 2013, 1 in 2012, and 5 in 2011. It is an unusual year. Again we don’t know why.


Q: Does the increase in mortality among white females suggest another drop in life expectancy for that group?

JX: We don’t have life expectancy numbers for white females yet. It is possible that the life expectancy numbers in 2015 for white women will drop again in 2015 since the life expectancy decreased 0.1 year for all females in 2015 from 2014 and mortality from 12 of 15 leading causes of death for white females increased significantly in 2015 from 2014 (heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, unintentional injuries, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, hypertension, chronic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, suicide, pneumonitis due to solids and liquids).

 


Cause of Fetal Death: Data from the Fetal Death Report, 2014

October 31, 2016

Questions for Donna L. Hoyert, Ph.D., Health Scientist and Lead Author on “Cause of Fetal Death: Data from the Fetal Death Report, 2014

Q: Why did you conduct this study?

DH: We wanted to provide background regarding what information has become available recently through vital statistics data on the cause of fetal death. The National Vital Statistics System is an example of intergovernmental sharing of public health data, and in the United States, State laws require the reporting of fetal deaths, and Federal law mandates national collection and publication of the data. There is much we can learn from the statistics in this study.


Q: Why focus on fetal deaths of 20 weeks gestation or more in your report – versus fetal deaths of any and all gestation?

DH: Because the States typically require reporting of these events, we focused on fetal deaths of 20 weeks gestation or more. These spontaneous intrauterine deaths are sometimes referred to as stillbirths. While there are a few states that report fetal deaths at all gestation periods, consistent national data is found at 20 weeks or more.


Q: What are the most common selected causes of fetal death?

DH: There are five most common selected causes of fetal death, one of which is listed as an unspecified cause. Placenta, cord, and membrane complications is another one. There are also congenital malformations, maternal complications, and maternal conditions unrelated to pregnancy.


Q: What variations by maternal demographics, if any, did you observe in the fetal death data you examined?

DH: The same five causes of fetal death were among the most common selected causes for many maternal characteristics. The characteristics of delivery weight and gestation period were different, and for these two, diabetes mellitus emerged, and maternal complications dropped below the top five selected causes for fetuses with longer gestation and heavier delivery weights.


Q: What do you think is the most significant finding in your new study?

DH: Probably that the variations observed across maternal and fetal characteristics are consistent with those documented in other research. This represents an important expansion of what is available from vital statistics on fetal death.


Is Leukemia the leading form of cancer death among children and teens?

September 16, 2016


Declines in Cancer Death Rates Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999-2014

September 16, 2016
Sally C. Curtin, M.A., Demographer/Statistician

Sally C. Curtin, M.A., Demographer/Statistician

Questions for Sally C. Curtin, M.A., Demographer/Statistician and Lead Author on “Declines in Cancer Death Rates Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999-2014

Q: How have trends in cancer death rates for children and adolescents in the United States changed over time?

SC: This report presents recent trends in cancer death rates for children and adolescents in the United States, at the turn of and during the first part of the 21st century. Cancer deaths to children and adolescents had been declining since the 1970s through the end of the 20th century. This report shows that the decline continued from 1999-2014, by 20%. The declines were for both males and females aged 1-19, for all 5-year age groups within the 1-19 age range, and for white and black children and adolescents.


Q: What type of cancer is taking our young people in the United States now – and which kind of cancer has been the greatest cause of death for youth over the years?

SC: I think when you say “childhood cancer”, most people first think of leukemia, as this type of cancer had been the leading type for decades–both in terms of incidence and deaths. However, what our report shows is that there was a shift during the 1999-2014 period, and the leading type of cancer causing death in children and adolescents aged 1-19 years is now brain cancer. This is a recent development as the number of brain cancer deaths first exceeded that of leukemia in 2011; 2014 was the first year that this difference was statistically significant.


Q: Was the decline experienced for all age groups within the 1-19 years of age range?

SC: Yes, all 5-year age groups experienced declines, with the youngest children, those aged 1-4, having the largest percentage decline of 26%. In 2014, death rates for children ages 1-4, 5-9, and 10-14 years were not significantly different from each other, while rates for older adolescents aged 15-19 were the highest of all groups.


Q: What are the trends among race and ethnicity groups in cancer death rates for young Americans?

SC: This report shows that there is parity in cancer death rates among white and black children and adolescents aged 1-19. The parity was there for all three years–1999, 2006, and 2014–and both groups experienced declines over the period.


Q: What do you think is the most significant finding in your new study?

SC: Probably the recent shift in the leading site, from leukemia to brain cancer. This is a noteworthy development in the history of childhood cancer as it was always leukemia until quite recently. Brain cancer deaths to children and adolescents aged 1-19 did not go up over the time period studied, but rather, fluctuated and remained stable. It was the decline for leukemia deaths that caused the crossover in numbers so that the percentage of all cancer deaths is now highest for brain cancer, accounting for 3-in-10 cancer deaths in 2014 for the pediatric population.


COPD-Related Mortality by Sex and Race Among Adults Aged 25 and Over: United States, 2000-2014

September 8, 2016

Questions for Hanyu Ni, Ph.D., M.P.H., Associate Director for Science and Lead Author on “COPD-Related Mortality by Sex and Race Among Adults Aged 25 and Over: United States, 2000-2014

Q: How have trends in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) related deaths changed since 2000?

HN: Overall, the COPD-related death rate decreased 12.3% from 2000 through 2014 after adjustment for age. The crude death rate remained flat over time.


Q: What is the difference between COPD-related deaths and chronic lower respiratory disease mortality – the latter which is listed as the third leading cause of death in the United States?

HN: Chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) comprises three major diseases, i.e., chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma — that are all characterized by shortness of breath caused by airway obstruction. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes mainly emphysema and chronic bronchitis. From 2000 through 2014, COPD accounted for approximately 96% of all CLRD deaths every
year.


Q: How has COPD-related mortality changed among men and women over time?

HN: The COPD-related death rate declined more rapidly among men than among women. The age-adjusted rate for men declined 22.5% from 183.0 per 100,000 standard population in 2000, to 141.9 in 2014. The rate for women declined 3.8% from 104.9 in 2000 to 100.9 in 2014.


Q: Are there differences among race and age groups in COPD-related deaths?

HN: The changes over time in the COPD-related death rate differed by sex, race, and age. Between 2000 and 2014, the COPD-related death rate declined among men aged 65 and older and among women aged 65 and 84. However, the death rate increased among middle-aged men and women aged 45-64 and women aged 85 years and older. During the same period, the rate declined among white men and black men, remained stable among white women, but increased among black women.


Q: What do you think is the most significant finding in your new study?

HN: Using multiple-cause-of death data, this analysis found that the COPD-related death rate is roughly twice as high as the previously reported rate based on the underlying cause of death. This analysis also revealed an increased risk in COPD-related mortality among black women, both men and women aged 45-64, and women aged 85 and over.