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1.  Alaska's model program for surveillance and prevention of occupational injury deaths. 
Public Health Reports  1999;114(6):550-558.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) established its Alaska Field Station in Anchorage in 1991 after identifying Alaska as the highest-risk state for traumatic worker fatalities. Since then, the Field Station, working in collaboration with other agencies, organizations, and individuals, has established a program for occupational injury surveillance in Alaska and formed interagency working groups to address the risk factors leading to occupational death and injury in the state. Collaborative efforts have contributed to reducing crash rates and mortality in Alaska's rapidly expanding helicopter logging industry and have played an important supportive role in the substantial progress made in reducing the mortality rate in Alaska's commercial fishing industry (historically Alaska's and America's most dangerous industry). Alaska experienced a 46% overall decline in work-related acute traumatic injury deaths from 1991 to 1998, a 64% decline in commercial fishing deaths, and a very sharp decline in helicopter logging-related deaths. Extending this regional approach to other parts of the country and applying these strategies to the entire spectrum of occupational injury and disease hazards could have a broad effect on reducing occupational injuries.
PMCID: PMC1308539  PMID: 10670623
2.  Traumatic occupational fatalities in South Carolina, 1989-90. 
Public Health Reports  1993;108(4):483-488.
Death certificates for South Carolina for 1989 and 1990 were examined to identify deaths resulting from injury incurred in the workplace. There were 277 deaths in that category in the 2-year period, an average yearly rate for traumatic occupational fatalities of 8.84 per 100,000 workers. The groups of industries with the highest fatality rates were transportation-communication-utilities, construction, and agriculture-fishing-forestry. The leading causes of death were injuries from motor vehicle crash, homicide, and falls. The traumatic occupational fatality rate for men was about 13 times greater than that for women; however, a much higher proportion of women died from homicide on the job. The findings in general reflect trends reported in other studies. The death rates for workers in South Carolina for 1989-90, however, were higher than national averages for 1980-88. National data for 1989-90 were not available for comparison. The data suggest that more effective injury prevention efforts need to be applied to such causes of on-the-job injury as motor vehicle crash, homicide, and falls. Those three categories accounted for more than 56 percent of all traumatic occupational fatalities in South Carolina in 1989 and 1990. Motor vehicle crash prevention efforts particularly are needed in the transportation-communication-utilities industries. The findings show that particular efforts need to be directed to the retail trade category for prevention of homicide and to the construction industry for prevention of falls.
PMCID: PMC1403413  PMID: 8341784
3.  Fatal work-related farm injuries in Canada, 1991-1995. Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program 
BACKGROUND: Studies from other developed countries have shown that agriculture is among the most dangerous occupational sectors in terms of work-related deaths. The authors describe the occurrence of fatal work-related farm injuries in Canada and compare these rates with those in other Canadian industries. METHODS: The authors present a descriptive, epidemiological analysis of data from the recently established Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program. The study population comprised Canadians who died from work-related farm injuries between 1991 and 1995. Crude, age-standardized, age-specific and provincial rates of such injuries are presented, as are overall death rates in other Canadian industries. Other factors examined were the people involved, the mechanism of injury, and the place and time of injury. RESULTS: There were 503 deaths from work-related farm injuries during the study period, for an overall annual rate of 11.6 deaths per 100,000 farm population. Modest excesses in this rate were observed in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. High rates were observed among men of all ages and among elderly people. Among the cases that listed the person involved, farm owner-operators accounted for 60.2% of the people killed. There was no substantial increase or decrease in the annual number of deaths over the 5 years of study. The leading mechanisms of fatal injury included tractor rollovers, blind runovers (person not visible by driver), extra-rider runovers, and entanglements in machinery. Compared with other industries, agriculture appears to be the fourth most dangerous in Canada in terms of fatal injury, behind mining, logging and forestry, and construction. INTERPRETATION: Canada now has a national registry for the surveillance of fatal farm injuries. Farming clearly is among the most dangerous occupations in Canada in terms of fatal work-related injuries. Secondary analyses of data from this registry suggest priorities for prevention, continued surveillance and in-depth research.
PMCID: PMC1230438  PMID: 10405669
4.  Preventing commercial fishing deaths in Alaska 
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of the United States Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act of 1988 in reducing the high occupational death rate (200/100,000/year in 1991-2) among Alaska's commercial fishermen. METHODS: Comprehensive surveillance of deaths in commercial fishing was established by our office during 1991 and 1992 for Alaska. Demographic data and data on risk factors and incidents were compiled and analysed for trend. RESULTS: During 1991-8, there was a significant (p < 0.001) decrease in deaths in Alaska related to commercial fishing. Although drownings from fishermen falling overboard and events related to crab fishing vessels (often conducted far offshore and in winter) have continued to occur, marked progress (significant downward trend, p < 0.001) has been made in saving the lives of people involved in vessels capsizing and sinking. CONCLUSIONS: Specific measures tailored to prevent drowning associated with vessels capsizing and sinking in Alaska's commercial fishing industry have been successful. However, these events continue to occur, and place fishermen and rescue personnel at substantial risk. Additional strategies must be identified to reduce the frequency of vessels capsizing and sinking, to enable parallel improvements in the mortality among crab fishermen, and to prevent fishermen falling overboard and drownings associated with them.
PMCID: PMC1757672  PMID: 10658549
5.  Drowning in Alaskan waters. 
Public Health Reports  1996;111(6):531-535.
OBJECTIVE: To enumerate drowning fatalities in Alaska in order to identify risk factors and areas for intervention. METHODS: Information from death certificates, state troopers' reports, and medical examiner reports were abstracted and analyzed. Rates were calculated using 1990 census figures as denominator data. RESULTS: There were 542 drowning fatalities in Alaska for the years 1988 to 1992. The 20-29 age group had the highest frequency and rate of drownings. The incidence rate for the state was 20 drownings per 100,000 population per year, almost 10 times higher than the overall U.S. rate of 2.11 per 100,000 per year. Incidence rates were highest among adolescent males (10-19), young adult males (20-29). Alaska Natives, and rural residents. Alaska Native males, ages 30-39 averaged 159 drownings per 100,000 per year, the highest drowning rates in the state. CONCLUSIONS: Drowning is a major public health concern in Alaska. People who fish commercially and young Native males are groups at high risk for drowning. Intervention efforts should be concentrated on these two populations.
PMCID: PMC1381902  PMID: 8955701
6.  Occupational injury deaths of 16 and 17 year olds in the US: trends and comparisons with older workers. 
Injury Prevention  1997;3(4):277-281.
OBJECTIVE: To examine patterns of occupational injury deaths of 16 and 17 year olds in the United States for the three year period 1990-2, examine trends since the 1980s, and compare fatality rates with those of older workers. METHODS: Occupational injury deaths were analyzed using the death certificate based National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities (NTOF) surveillance system. Fatality rates were calculated using estimates of full time equivalent (FTE) workers based on data from the Current Population Survey, a monthly household survey. RESULTS: There were 111 deaths of 16 and 17 year olds for the years 1990-2. The average yearly rate was 3.5 deaths/100,000 FTE. The leading causes of death were motor vehicle related, homicide, and machinery related. All causes occupational injury fatality rates for 16 and 17 year olds were lower than for adults for 1990-2. Rates for the leading causes of death (motor vehicle related, homicide, and machinery related) were comparable or slightly higher than the rates for young and middle aged adult workers. Although rates decreased dramatically from 1980 to 1983, the decreasing trend attenuated in later years. CONCLUSIONS: Comparisons of youth fatality rates to those of adult workers should address differences in patterns of employment, most importantly hours of work. Comparisons to narrow age groupings of adults is preferable to a single category of all workers 18 years and older. Increasing compliance with federal child labor regulations could help reduce work related deaths of youth. Other measures are needed, however, as there are many work hazards, including those associated with homicides, that are not addressed by United States federal child labor law regulations.
PMCID: PMC1067854  PMID: 9493624
7.  Abusive head trauma among children in Alaska: a population-based assessment 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21216.
Serious physical abuse resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been implicated as an underreported cause of infant mortality. Nearly 80% of all abusive head trauma (AHT) occurs among children <2 years of age, with infants experiencing an incidence nearly 8 times that of 2-year olds.
This study describes the validation of the CDC Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (PAHT) definitions when applied to a multi-source database at the state level and provides a robust annual incidence estimate of AHT among children <2 years of age in Alaska.
AHT cases among children residing in Alaska during 2005–2010 were identified by applying the PAHT coding schema to a multi-source database which included vital death records, the Violent Death Reporting System (AK-VDRS), the Maternal Infant Mortality Review – Child Death Review (MIMR-CDR), the Alaska Trauma Registry (ATR), the inpatient Hospital Discharge Database (HDD) and Medicaid claims. Using these data, we calculated statewide AHT annual incidence rates.
The databases with the highest case capture rates were the ATR and Medicaid systems, both at 51%, followed by HDD at 38%. Combined, the ATR, HDD and Medicaid systems captured 91% of all AHT cases. The linkage and use of the PAHT definitions yielded an estimated sensitivity of 91% and specificity of 98%. During the study period, we detected an annual average incidence of 34.4 cases per 100,000 children aged <2 years (95% CI 25.1, 46.1) and a case fatality proportion of 22% (10/45). Among the AHT cases, 82% were infants. Significant differences (p < 0.05) in AHT were noted by age and race, but not by sex.
In Alaska, applying the CDC PAHT definition to the multi-source database enabled us to capture 49% more AHT cases than any of the individual database used in this analysis alone.
PMCID: PMC3754493  PMID: 23986886
child maltreatment; child abuse; abusive head trauma; traumatic brain injury; surveillance; epidemiology
8.  Mortality trends among Alaska Native people: successes and challenges 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21185.
Current mortality rates are essential for monitoring, understanding and developing policy for a population's health. Disease-specific Alaska Native mortality rates have been undergoing change.
This article reports recent mortality data (2004–2008) for Alaska Native/American Indian (AN/AI) people, comparing mortality rates to US white rates and examines changes in mortality patterns since 1980.
We used death record data from the state of Alaska, Department of Vital Statistics and SEER*Stat software from the National Cancer Institute to calculate age-adjusted mortality rates.
Annual age-adjusted mortality from all-causes for AN/AI persons during the period 2004–2008 was 33% higher than the rate for US whites (RR=1.33, 95% CI 1.29–1.38). Mortality rates were higher among AN/AI males than AN/AI females (1212/100,000 vs. 886/100,000). Cancer remained the leading cause of death among AN/AI people, as it has in recent previous periods, with an age-adjusted rate of 226/100,000, yielding a rate ratio (RR) of 1.24 compared to US whites (95% CI 1.14–1.33). Statistically significant higher mortality compared to US white mortality rates was observed for nine of the ten leading causes of AN/AI mortality (cancer, unintentional injury, suicide, alcohol abuse, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], cerebrovascular disease, chronic liver disease, pneumonia/influenza, homicide). Mortality rates were significantly lower among AN/AI people compared to US whites for heart disease (RR=0.82), the second leading cause of death. Among leading causes of death for AN/AI people, the greatest disparities in mortality rates with US whites were observed in unintentional injuries (RR=2.45) and suicide (RR=3.53). All-cause AN/AI mortality has declined 16% since 1980–1983, compared to a 21% decline over a similar period among US whites.
Mortality rates and trends are essential to understanding the health of a population and guiding policy decisions. The overall AN/AI mortality rate is higher than that of US whites, although encouraging declines in mortality have occurred for many cause specific deaths, as well as for the overall rate. The second leading cause of AN/AI mortality, heart disease, remains lower than that of US whites.
PMCID: PMC3751233  PMID: 23977643
Native American; unintentional injury; suicide; death; vital statistics
9.  Effects of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) standard on rates of machinery‐related fatal occupational injury 
Injury Prevention  2007;13(5):334-338.
To evaluate the impact of the United States' federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) standard on rates of machinery‐related fatal occupational injury. The standard, which took effect in 1990, requires employers in certain industries to establish an energy control program and sets minimum criteria for energy control procedures, training, inspections, and hardware.
An interrupted time‐series design was used to determine the standard's effect on fatality rates. Machinery‐related fatalities, obtained from the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities surveillance system for 1980 through 2001, were used as a proxy for lockout/tagout‐related fatalities. Linear regression was used to control for changes in demographic and economic factors.
The average annual crude rate of machinery‐related fatalities in manufacturing changed little from 1980 to 1989, but declined by 4.59% per year from 1990 to 2001. However, when controlling for demographic and economic factors, the regression model estimate of the standard's effect is a small, non‐significant increase of 0.05 deaths per 100 000 production worker full‐time equivalents (95% CI −0.14 to 0.25). When fatality rates in comparison groups that should not have been affected by the standard are incorporated into the analysis, there is still no significant change in the rate of machinery‐related fatalities in manufacturing.
There is no evidence that the lockout/tagout standard decreased fatality rates relative to other trends in occupational safety over the study period. A possible explanation is voluntary use of lockout/tagout by some employers before introduction of the standard and low compliance by other employers after.
PMCID: PMC2610620  PMID: 17916891
occupational safety; policy; evaluation; machine; manufacturing industry
10.  Comparison of work related fatal injuries in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand: method and overall findings 
Injury Prevention  2001;7(1):22-28.
Objectives—To compare the extent, distribution, and nature of fatal occupational injury in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
Setting—Workplaces in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
Methods—Data collections based on vital records were used to compare overall rates and distribution of fatal injuries covering the period 1989–92 in Australia and the United States, and 1985–94 in New Zealand. Household labour force data (Australia and the United States) and census data (New Zealand) provided denominator data for calculation of rates. Case definition, case inclusion criteria, and classification of occupation and industry were harmonised across the three datasets.
Results—New Zealand had the highest average annual rate (4.9/100 000), Australia an intermediate rate (3.8/100 000), and the United States the lowest rate (3.2/100 000) of fatal occupational injury. Much of the difference between countries was accounted for by differences in industry distribution. In each country, male workers, older workers, and those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing, in mining and in construction, were consistently at higher risk. Intentional fatal injury was more common in the United States, being rare in both Australia and New Zealand. This difference is likely to be reflected in the more common incidence of work related fatal injuries for sales workers in the United States compared with Australia and New Zealand.
Conclusions—The present results contrasted with those obtained by a recent study that used published omnibus statistics, both in terms of absolute rates and relative ranking of the three countries. Such differences underscore the importance of using like datasets for international comparisons. The consistency of high risk areas across comparable data from comparable nations provides clear targets for further attention. At this stage, however, it is unclear whether the same specific occupations and/or hazards are contributing to the aggregated industry and occupation group rates reported here.
PMCID: PMC1730691  PMID: 11289530
11.  Cancer Disparities Among Alaska Native People, 1970–2011 
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people. The objective of this study was to examine cancer incidence data for 2007–2011, age-specific rates for a 15-year period, incidence trends for 1970–2011, and mortality trends for 1990–2011.
US data were from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program SEER*Stat database and from the SEER Alaska Native Tumor Registry. Age-adjusted cancer incidence rates among Alaska Native people and US whites were compared using rate ratios. Trend analyses were performed using the Joinpoint Regression Program. Mortality data were from National Center for Health Statistics.
During 2007–2011 the cancer incidence rate among Alaska Native women was 16% higher than the rate among US white women and was similar among Alaska Native men and US white men. Incidence rates among Alaska Native people exceeded rates among US whites for nasopharyngeal, stomach, colorectal, lung, and kidney cancer. A downward trend in colorectal cancer incidence among Alaska Native people occurred from 1999 to 2011. Significant declines in rates were not observed for other frequently diagnosed cancers or for all sites combined. Cancer mortality rates among Alaska Native people during 2 periods, 1990–2000 and 2001–2011, did not decline. Cancer mortality rates among Alaska Native people exceeded rates among US whites for all cancers combined; for cancers of the lung, stomach, pancreas, kidney, and cervix; and for colorectal cancer.
Increases in colorectal screening among Alaska Native people may be responsible for current declines in colorectal cancer incidence; however; improvements in treatment of colon and rectal cancers may also be contributing factors.
PMCID: PMC4273544  PMID: 25523352
12.  Foodborne Botulism in the United States, 1990–2000 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(9):1606-1611.
Home-canned foods and Alaska Native foods are leading causes of U.S. foodborne botulism; botulism’s epidemic potential renders each case a public health emergency.
Foodborne botulism, a potentially lethal neuroparalytic disease, is caused by ingesting preformed Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin. We reviewed surveillance data and reports from 1990 to 2000. Of 263 cases from 160 foodborne botulism events (episode of one or more related cases) in the United States, 103 (39%) cases and 58 events occurred in Alaska. Patients' median age was 48 years; 154 (59%) were female; the case-fatality rate was 4%. The median number of cases per event was 1 (range 1–17). Toxin type A caused 51% of all cases; toxin type E caused 90% of Alaska cases. A particular food was implicated in 126 (79%) events. In the lower 49 states, a noncommercial food item was implicated in 70 (91%) events, most commonly home-canned vegetables (44%). Two restaurant-associated outbreaks affected 25 persons. All Alaska cases were attributable to traditional Alaska Native foods. Botulism prevention efforts should be focused on those who preserve food at home, Alaska Natives, and restaurant workers.
PMCID: PMC3320287  PMID: 15498163
botulism; surveillance; epidemiology; foodborne disease; Clostridium botulinum; research
13.  Fatal traumatic brain injury, West Virginia, 1989-1998. 
Public Health Reports  2004;119(5):486-492.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe fatal cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among West Virginia residents. METHODS: The authors analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics Multiple Cause of Death tapes for the period 1989-1998. They compared West Virginia's annualized average TBI death rate with the rates of other states and with the rate among U.S. residents for the same period. U.S. Bureau of Census population estimates were used as denominators. RESULTS: A total of 4,416 TBI deaths occurred in West Virginia in 1989-1998, for an annual average death rate of 23.6 per 100,000 population. From 1989 to 1998, TBI death rates declined 5% (p=0.4042). Seventy-five percent (n=3,315) of fatalities occurred among men. Adults > or =65 years of age accounted for the highest percentage of fatal injuries (n=1,135). The leading external causes of fatal TBI were: firearm-related (39% of reported fatalities), motor vehicles-related (34%), and fall-related (10%). Firearm-related TBI became the leading cause of TBI fatalities in 1991, surpassing motor vehicle-related TBI. Seventy-five percent of firearm-related TBI deaths were suicides (n=1,302). West Virginia's TBI death rate (23.6 per 100,000) was higher than the national rate (20.6 per 100,000). In 23 states, the average TBI death rates over the 10-year period were higher than West Virginia's. Whereas modest declines in TBI death rates occurred for motor vehicle-related and firearm-related causes in West Virginia, a concomitant 38% increase occurred in the fall-related TBI death rate during the decade. CONCLUSION: Data presented in this report can be used to develop targeted prevention programs in West Virginia.
PMCID: PMC1497660  PMID: 15313112
14.  The burden of sepsis-associated mortality in the United States from 1999 to 2005: an analysis of multiple-cause-of-death data 
Critical Care  2009;13(1):R28.
Sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The National Center for Health Statistics' multiple-cause-of-death (MCOD) dataset is a large, publicly available, population-based source of information on disease burden in the United States. We have analysed MCOD data from 1999 to 2005 to investigate trends, assess disparities and provide population-based estimates of sepsis-associated mortality during this period.
Sepsis-associated deaths occurring in the United States from 1999 to 2005 were identified in MCOD data using International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codes. Population-based mortality rates were calculated using bridged-race population estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics. Comparisons across age, sex and racial/ethnic groups were achieved by calculating mortality rate ratios.
From 1999 to 2005 there were 16,948,482 deaths in the United States. Of these, 1,017,616 were associated with sepsis (6.0% of all deaths). The age-adjusted rate of sepsis-associated mortality was 50.37 deaths per 100,000 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 50.28 to 50.47). There were significant disparities in sepsis-associated mortality in race/ethnicity and sex groups (P < 0.0001). After controlling for age, Asians were less likely than whites to experience sepsis-related death (rate ratio (RR) = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.77 to 0.78), while Blacks (RR = 2.24, 95% CI = 2.23 to 2.24), American Indians/Alaska Natives (RR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.24 to 1.25) and Hispanics (RR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.14) were more likely than whites to experience sepsis-related death. Men were at increased risk for sepsis-associated death in all race/ethnicity categories (RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.27 to 1.28), but the degree of increased susceptibility associated with being male differed among racial/ethnic groups (P < 0.0001). Although crude sepsis-associated mortality increased by 0.67% per year during the study period (P < 0.0001), the age-adjusted mortality rate decreased by 0.18% per year (P < 0.01).
The rapid rise in sepsis mortality seen in previous decades has slowed, but population ageing continues to drive the growth of sepsis-associated mortality in the United States. Disparities in sepsis-associated mortality mirror those previously reported for sepsis incidence. Sepsis in Asians, Hispanics and American Indian/Alaska Natives should be studied separately because aggregate measures may obscure important differences among these groups.
PMCID: PMC2688146  PMID: 19250547
15.  Fatal Occupational Injuries among Non-governmental Employees in Malaysia 
In Malaysia, surveillance of fatal occupational injuries is fragmented. We therefore analyzed an alternative data source from Malaysia’s Social Security organization, the PERKESO.
We conducted a secondary data analysis of the PERKESO database comprised of 7 million employees from 2002 to 2006.
Overall, the average annual incidence was 9.2 fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers. During the five-year period, there was a decrease in the absolute number of fatal injuries by 16% and the incidence by 34%. The transportation sector reported the highest incidence of fatal injuries (35.1/100,000), followed by agriculture (30.5/100,000) and construction (19.3/100,000) sectors. Persons of Indian ethnicity were more likely to sustain fatal injuries compared to other ethnic groups.
Government and industry should develop rigorous strategies to detect hazards in the workplace, especially in sectors that continuously record high injury rates. Targeted interventions emphasizing worker empowerment coupled with systematic monitoring and evaluation is critical to ensure success in prevention and control measures.
PMCID: PMC3505558  PMID: 22544443
occupational injuries; fatal; transportation; agriculture; Malaysia
16.  Trends in rates of occupational fatal injuries in the United States (1983-92) 
OBJECTIVES: An updated version of a national surveillance system of traumatic occupational fatalities was used to explore adjusted and unadjusted trends in rates of fatal injury. METHODS: Data from the national traumatic occupational fatalities surveillance system were combined with data on employment from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Poisson regression was then used to examine trends in rates of occupational fatality injuries while controlling for demographic and workplace characteristics. RESULTS: Adjusted annual changes in rates of fatal injuries ranged from a decline of 6.2% for workers in technical and administrative support occupations--for example, health, science, and engineering technicians, pilots, computer programmers--to an increase of 1.6% in machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors. For industries, annual changes ranged from a decline of 5.3% for workers in public administration--for example, justice, public order, and safety workers--to an increase of 2.6% for workers in the wholesale trade. By comparison, the annual decline over all industries and occupations was 3.1%. In many industries and occupations, an effect modification of annual trends by the age of the worker was also found with the oldest workers experiencing either no decline or a significant increase in rates of fatal injuries. CONCLUSIONS: This general pattern of decline, adjusted for the effects of demographic characteristics of the worker population, is encouraging; however, increases in rates of fatal injuries found in particular industries and occupations, suggest appropriate targets for increased injury prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC1757606  PMID: 9816383
17.  Hospitalised and Fatal Head Injuries in Viti Levu, Fiji: Findings from an Island-Wide Trauma Registry (TRIP 4) 
Neuroepidemiology  2012;38(3):179-185.
Globally, head injury is a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity. A disproportionately greater burden is borne by low- and middle-income countries. The incidence and characteristics of fatal and hospitalised head injuries in Fiji are unknown.
Using prospective data from the Fiji Injury Surveillance in Hospital system, the epidemiology of fatal and hospitalised head injuries was investigated (2004–2005).
In total, 226 hospital admissions and 50 fatalities (66% died prior to admission) with a principal diagnosis of head injury were identified (crude annual rates of 34.7 and 7.7/100,000, respectively). Males were more likely to die and be hospitalised as a result of head injury than females. The highest fatality rate was among those in the 30–44-year age group. Road traffic crashes were the leading causes of injuries resulting in death (70%), followed by ‘hit by person or object’ and falls (14% each). Among people admitted to hospital, road traffic crashes (34.5%) and falls (33.2%) were the leading causes of injury. The leading cause of head injuries in children was falls, in 15–29-year-olds road traffic crashes, and in adults aged 30–44 years or 45 years and older ‘hit by person or object’. Among the two major ethnic groups, Fijians had higher rates of falls and ‘hit by person or object’ and Indians higher rates for road traffic crashes. There were no statistically significant differences between the overall rates of head injuries or the fatal and non-fatal rates among Fijians or Indians by gender following age standardisation to the total Fijian national population.
Despite underestimating the overall burden, this study identified head injury to be a major cause of death and hospitalisation in Fiji. The predominance of males and road traffic-related injuries is consistent with studies on head injuries conducted in other low- and middle-income countries. The high fatality rate among those aged 30–44 years in this study has not been noted previously. The high case fatality rate prior to admission to the hospital requires urgent attention.
PMCID: PMC3375116  PMID: 22472517
Head injuries; Epidemiology; Traumatic brain injury; Surveillance; Fiji
18.  Paradoxical increase in stroke mortality among Asian Indians in the United States 
To better characterize the stroke mortality and risk factors among Asian Indians by using U.S. multiple-cause-of-death and National Health and Interview Survey data.
Age-adjusted fatal stroke incidence, stroke rate ratio with 95% confidence interval, and average annual percentage change (APC) over 10 years were calculated.
The annual incidence of stroke mortality in 2000 was lowest among Asian Indians (88 per 100,000) followed by American Indians and Alaska Natives (112 per 100,000), whites (301 per 100,000) and African Americans (312 per 100,000). Significantly lower rates of hypertension and cigarette smoking in Asian Indians in 2000–2001 (compared with whites) explained the lower rates of stroke mortality. The APC increase over subsequent 10 years was 13.5%, 0.9%, −2.5%, and −2.9% for Asian Indians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, whites, and African Americans, respectively.
There is a paradoxical increase in stroke mortality among Asian Indians over the last 10 years in contrast to other population subsets.
PMCID: PMC4051898  PMID: 24920980
Stroke; National Health and Interview Survey (NHIS); Asian Indians; Mortality; Incidence
19.  Colorectal Cancer in Alaska Native People, 2005–2009 
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among Alaska Native (AN) people, and the second leading cause of cancer death. The incidence rate for the combined years 1999 through 2003 was 30% higher than the rate among U.S. whites (USWs) for the same period. Current incidence rates may serve to monitor the impact of screening programs in reducing CRC in the AN population.
Incidence data are from the Alaska Native Tumor Registry and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. We compared AN CRC incidence, survival rates, and stage at diagnosis with rates in USWs for cases diagnosed from 2005 through 2009. Relative survival calculations were produced in SEER*Stat by the actuarial method.
The CRC age-adjusted incidence rate among AN men and women combined was higher than those in USW men and women (84 vs. 43/100,000; P < .05; AN:USW rate ratio [RR] = 2.0). The greatest differences between rates in AN people and USWs were for tumors in the hepatic flexure (RR = 3.1) and in the transverse (RR = 2.9) and sigmoid (RR = 2.5) regions of the colon. Rectal cancer rates among AN people were significantly higher than rates in USWs (21 vs.12/100,000). Five-year relative survival proportions by stage at diagnosis indicate that the CRC 5-year relative survival was similar in AN people and USWs for the period 2004 through 2009.
The high rate of CRC in AN people emphasizes the need for screening programs and interventions to reduce known modifiable risks. Research in methods to promote healthy behaviors among AN people is greatly needed.
PMCID: PMC3481146  PMID: 23112882
20.  Unnatural Deaths in South African Platinum Miners, 1992–2008 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e22807.
The mortality rate from unnatural deaths for South Africa is nearly double the world average. Reliable data are limited by inaccurate and incomplete ascertainment of specific causes of unnatural death. This study describes trends in causes of unnatural death between 1992 and 2008 in a cohort of South African miners.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The study used routinely-collected retrospective data with cause of death determined from multiple sources including the mine's human resources database, medical records, death registration, and autopsy. Cause-specific mortality rates and Poisson regression coefficients were calculated by calendar year and age group. The cohort included 40,043 men. One quarter of all 2937 deaths were from unnatural causes (n = 805). Causes of unnatural deaths were road traffic accidents 38% (109/100,000 py), homicides 30% (88/100,000 py), occupational injuries 17% (50/100,000 py), suicides 8% (24/100,000 py), and other accidents 6% (19/100,000 py). Rates of unnatural deaths declined by 2% (95%CI -4%,-1%) per year over the study period, driven by declining rates of road traffic and other accidents. The rate of occupational injury mortality did not change significantly over time (-2% per year, 95%CI -5%,+2%). Unnatural deaths were less frequent in this cohort of workers than in the South African population (IRR 0.89, 95%CI 0.82–0.95), particularly homicides (IRR 0.48, 95%CI 0.42–0.55).
Unnatural deaths were a common cause of preventable and premature death in this cohort of miners. While unnatural death rates declined between 1992 and 2008, occupational fatalities remained at a high level. Evidence-based prevention strategies to address these avoidable deaths are urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC3172213  PMID: 21931592
21.  Comparison of unintentional fatal occupational injuries in the Republic of Korea and the United States 
Injury Prevention  2004;10(4):199-205.
Objectives: To compare the profile of unintentional fatal occupational injuries in the Republic of Korea and the United States to help establish prevention strategies for Korea and to understand country specific differences in fatality risks in different industries.
Methods: Occupational fatal injury data from 1998–2001 were collected from Korea's Occupational Safety and Health Agency's Survey of Causes of Occupational Injuries (identified by the Korea Labor Welfare Corporation) and from the United States Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Employment estimates were obtained in both countries. Industry coding and external cause of death coding were standardized. Descriptive analyses of injury rates and Poisson regression models to examine time trends were conducted.
Results: Korea exhibited a significantly higher fatal injury rate, at least two times higher than the United States, after accounting for different employment patterns. The ordering of industries with respect to risk is the same in the two countries, with mining, agriculture/forestry/fishing, and construction being the most dangerous. Fatal injury rates are decreasing in these two countries, although at a faster rate in Korea.
Conclusions: Understanding industrial practices within different countries is critical for fully understanding country specific occupational injury statistics. However, differences in surveillance systems and employment estimation methods serve as caveats to any transnational comparison, and need to be harmonized to the fullest extent possible.
PMCID: PMC1730127  PMID: 15314045
22.  Diversity of trends in occupational injury mortality in the United States, 1980–96 
Injury Prevention  2003;9(1):9-14.
Objectives: Although the United States has generally enjoyed declining rates of fatal occupational injury, the rate of decline has not been uniform. To examine the heterogeneity of trends, changes in fatal occupational injury rates from 1980 to 1996 were estimated by occupation, industry, geographic region, and demographic group.
Methods: Deaths due to injury at work during 1980–96 were identified from the US National Traumatic Occupational Fatality database and populations at risk were estimated from the census of population. Mortality rates were computed for unintentional injuries, homicides, and all injuries combined. The annual rate of change was estimated using Poisson regression to model the death rate as a function of time.
Results: The estimated average rates for all fatal occupational injuries and for unintentional injuries declined by 3% per year, while the estimated rate of homicide declined <1% per year. The improvement was faster for men (3% per year) than for women (<1% per year) and for younger relative to older workers (7% per year v 2%–3% per year). Trends were also geographically heterogeneous, with the most rapid declines (7%–8% per year) in the South and West. Injury rates for most occupations and industries declined at near the average rate, but some experienced no change or an increase. The rate of homicide also increased in a number of occupations and industries.
Conclusions: Broad downward trends in occupational fatality rates may be explained by several factors, including organized safety efforts, product and process changes, and the ongoing shift of employment toward safer sectors. Disparities in fatal injury trends draw attention to potential opportunities to reduce risk: work settings with increasing injury rates are of particular concern.
PMCID: PMC1730941  PMID: 12642551
23.  Trends in US Pediatric Drowning Hospitalizations, 1993–2008 
Pediatrics  2012;129(2):275-281.
In the United States, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1 to 19 years, accounting for nearly 1100 deaths per year. Although a decline in overall fatal drowning deaths among children has been noted, national trends and disparities in pediatric drowning hospitalizations have not been reported.
To describe trends in pediatric drowning in the United States and provide national benchmarks for state and regional comparisons, we analyzed existing data (1993–2008) from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest, longitudinal, all-payer inpatient care database in the United States. Children aged 0 to 19 years were included. Annual rates of drowning-related hospitalizations were determined, stratified by age, gender, and outcome.
From 1993 to 2008, the estimated annual incidence rate of pediatric hospitalizations associated with drowning declined 49% from 4.7 to 2.4 per 100 000 (P < .001). The rates declined for all age groups and for both males and females. The hospitalization rate for males remained consistently greater than for females at each point in time. Rates of fatal drowning hospitalization declined from 0.5 (95% confidence interval, 0.4–0.7) deaths per 100 000 in 1993–1994 to 0.3 (95% confidence interval, 0.2–0.4) in 2007–2008 (P < .01). No difference was observed in the mean hospital length of stay over time.
Pediatric hospitalization rates for drowning have decreased over the past 16 years. Our study provides national estimates of pediatric drowning hospitalization that can be used as benchmarks to target and assess prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3269118  PMID: 22250031
drowning; pediatric; hospitalization; incidence; trends
24.  Differential ranking of causes of fatal versus non-fatal injuries among US children 
Injury Prevention  2003;9(2):173-176.
Method: A descriptive study was conducted using nationally representative data on injury related deaths (National Vital Statistics System) and on non-fatal injury related emergency department visits (IEDV; National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program). Data were accessed using a publicly available web based system.
Results: Annually, an estimated 7 100 000 pediatric IEDV and 7400 injury deaths occurred. The overall non-fatal to fatal ratio (NF:F) was 966 IEDV:1 death. Among deaths, the leading causes were motor vehicle traffic occupants (n = 1700; NF:F = 150:1), suffocations (n = 1037; NF:F = 14:1), and drownings (n = 971, NF:F = 6:1). Among non-fatal injuries, falls (estimated 2 400 000) and struck by/against (estimated 1 800 000) were the most common causes, but substantially less lethal (NF:F = 19 000:1 and 15 000:1, respectively).
Conclusions: The leading causes of pediatric fatal and non-fatal injuries differed substantially. This study indicates the need for consideration of common causes of non-fatal injury, especially falls.
PMCID: PMC1730956  PMID: 12810747
25.  Long-Term Exposure to Silica Dust and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Chinese Workers: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001206.
A retro-prospective cohort study by Weihong Chen and colleagues provides new estimates for the risk of total and cause-specific mortality due to long-term silica dust exposure among Chinese workers.
Human exposure to silica dust is very common in both working and living environments. However, the potential long-term health effects have not been well established across different exposure situations.
Methods and Findings
We studied 74,040 workers who worked at 29 metal mines and pottery factories in China for 1 y or more between January 1, 1960, and December 31, 1974, with follow-up until December 31, 2003 (median follow-up of 33 y). We estimated the cumulative silica dust exposure (CDE) for each worker by linking work history to a job–exposure matrix. We calculated standardized mortality ratios for underlying causes of death based on Chinese national mortality rates. Hazard ratios (HRs) for selected causes of death associated with CDE were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards model. The population attributable risks were estimated based on the prevalence of workers with silica dust exposure and HRs. The number of deaths attributable to silica dust exposure among Chinese workers was then calculated using the population attributable risk and the national mortality rate. We observed 19,516 deaths during 2,306,428 person-years of follow-up. Mortality from all causes was higher among workers exposed to silica dust than among non-exposed workers (993 versus 551 per 100,000 person-years). We observed significant positive exposure–response relationships between CDE (measured in milligrams/cubic meter–years, i.e., the sum of silica dust concentrations multiplied by the years of silica exposure) and mortality from all causes (HR 1.026, 95% confidence interval 1.023–1.029), respiratory diseases (1.069, 1.064–1.074), respiratory tuberculosis (1.065, 1.059–1.071), and cardiovascular disease (1.031, 1.025–1.036). Significantly elevated standardized mortality ratios were observed for all causes (1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.01–1.11), ischemic heart disease (1.65, 1.35–1.99), and pneumoconiosis (11.01, 7.67–14.95) among workers exposed to respirable silica concentrations equal to or lower than 0.1 mg/m3. After adjustment for potential confounders, including smoking, silica dust exposure accounted for 15.2% of all deaths in this study. We estimated that 4.2% of deaths (231,104 cases) among Chinese workers were attributable to silica dust exposure. The limitations of this study included a lack of data on dietary patterns and leisure time physical activity, possible underestimation of silica dust exposure for individuals who worked at the mines/factories before 1950, and a small number of deaths (4.3%) where the cause of death was based on oral reports from relatives.
Long-term silica dust exposure was associated with substantially increased mortality among Chinese workers. The increased risk was observed not only for deaths due to respiratory diseases and lung cancer, but also for deaths due to cardiovascular disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Walk along most sandy beaches and you will be walking on millions of grains of crystalline silica, one of the commonest minerals on earth and a major ingredient in glass and in ceramic glazes. Silica is also used in the manufacture of building materials, in foundry castings, and for sandblasting, and respirable (breathable) crystalline silica particles are produced during quarrying and mining. Unfortunately, silica dust is not innocuous. Several serious diseases are associated with exposure to this dust, including silicosis (a chronic lung disease characterized by scarring and destruction of lung tissue), lung cancer, and pulmonary tuberculosis (a serious lung infection). Moreover, exposure to silica dust increases the risk of death (mortality). Worryingly, recent reports indicate that in the US and Europe, about 1.7 and 3.0 million people, respectively, are occupationally exposed to silica dust, figures that are dwarfed by the more than 23 million workers who are exposed in China. Occupational silica exposure, therefore, represents an important global public health concern.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the lung-related adverse health effects of exposure to silica dust have been extensively studied, silica-related health effects may not be limited to these diseases. For example, could silica dust particles increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (diseases that affect the heart and circulation)? Other environmental particulates, such as the products of internal combustion engines, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but no one knows if the same is true for silica dust particles. Moreover, although it is clear that high levels of exposure to silica dust are dangerous, little is known about the adverse health effects of lower exposure levels. In this cohort study, the researchers examined the effect of long-term exposure to silica dust on the risk of all cause and cause-specific mortality in a large group (cohort) of Chinese workers.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers estimated the cumulative silica dust exposure for 74,040 workers at 29 metal mines and pottery factories from 1960 to 2003 from individual work histories and more than four million measurements of workplace dust concentrations, and collected health and mortality data for all the workers. Death from all causes was higher among workers exposed to silica dust than among non-exposed workers (993 versus 551 deaths per 100,000 person-years), and there was a positive exposure–response relationship between silica dust exposure and death from all causes, respiratory diseases, respiratory tuberculosis, and cardiovascular disease. For example, the hazard ratio for all cause death was 1.026 for every increase in cumulative silica dust exposure of 1 mg/m3-year; a hazard ratio is the incidence of an event in an exposed group divided by its incidence in an unexposed group. Notably, there was significantly increased mortality from all causes, ischemic heart disease, and silicosis among workers exposed to respirable silica concentrations at or below 0.1 mg/m3, the workplace exposure limit for silica dust set by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For example, the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for silicosis among people exposed to low levels of silica dust was 11.01; an SMR is the ratio of observed deaths in a cohort to expected deaths calculated from recorded deaths in the general population. Finally, the researchers used their data to estimate that, in 2008, 4.2% of deaths among industrial workers in China (231,104 deaths) were attributable to silica dust exposure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that long-term silica dust exposure is associated with substantially increased mortality among Chinese workers. They confirm that there is an exposure–response relationship between silica dust exposure and a heightened risk of death from respiratory diseases and lung cancer. That is, the risk of death from these diseases increases as exposure to silica dust increases. In addition, they show a significant relationship between silica dust exposure and death from cardiovascular diseases. Importantly, these findings suggest that even levels of silica dust that are considered safe increase the risk of death. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the accuracy of the silica dust exposure estimates and/or by confounding (other factors shared by the people exposed to silica such as diet may have affected their risk of death). Nevertheless, these findings highlight the need to tighten regulations on workplace dust control in China and elsewhere.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The American Lung Association provides information on silicosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on silica in the workplace, including links to relevant US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety publications, and information on silicosis and other pneumoconioses
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has detailed information on occupational exposure to crystalline silica
What does silicosis mean to you is a video provided by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration that includes personal experiences of silicosis; Dont let silica dust you is a video produced by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics that identifies ways to reduce silica dust exposure in the workplace
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on silicosis (in English and Spanish)
The International Labour Organization provides information on health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica
The World Health Organization has published a report about the health effects of crystalline silica and quartz
PMCID: PMC3328438  PMID: 22529751

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