August 21, 2018
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What’s the most distinctive cause of death in Maine?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | BDN
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | BDN
By Erin Rhoda, BDN Staff

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a map showing the most distinctive causes of death for each state. In Louisiana, the sexually transmitted infection syphilis kills people at rates that make it unique. In Texas, it’s the infectious disease tuberculosis.

And Maine? It’s the flu. That’s right, the preventable and treatable influenza makes Maine stand out.

To be clear, the distinctive causes of death for each state are outliers. As the CDC describes, the map is “predisposed to showing rare causes of death — for 22 of the states, the total number of deaths mapped was under 100.”

During the 2013-2014 season, 847 of 12,665 deaths (6.7 percent) reported to Maine’s Electronic Death Registry System were attributed to pneumonia or influenza.

The CDC said it created the map “to present a more nuanced view of mortality variation within the United States than what can be seen by using only the 10 most common causes of death.”

“Although chronic disease prevention efforts should continue to emphasize the most common conditions, an outlier map such as this one should also be of interest to public health professionals, particularly insofar as it highlights nonstandard cause-of-death certification practices within and between states that can potentially be addressed through education and training,” the CDC wrote.

Read more about how the CDC defined “distinctive” and learn about other outlier causes of death by clicking here.


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