Asthma Mortality Rate Declined Between 1995 and 1998 as Hospitalizations Increased, CDC Report Finds
The CDC said yesterday that after increasing steadily since the 1980s, asthma rates appear to be "leveling off or even declining," the AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. The agency reported 17.2 asthma deaths for every 1 million people in the United States in 1999, down from 20 to 22 deaths between 1995 and 1998. Though hospitalizations due to asthma rose from 15.7 for every 10,000 people in 1998 to 17.6 in 1999, that figure is still down from the 20 hospitalizations per 10,000 people seen in the 1980s and early 1990s. The CDC also said that African Americans were 14% more likely than whites to have had an asthma attack in the year before the study. CDC epidemiologist David Mannino said the racial difference was likely attributable to gaps in access to care. Despite the lower death rates, he said it was too soon to tell whether asthma rates were in fact declining; the CDC cautioned that the numbers "may be skewed" because it changed its survey slightly in 1997. Nevertheless, Mannino said that Americans have "become more aware" of asthma and are "getting earlier and better treatment" (AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 3/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.