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Medical News
September 21, 1964

Marked Decline in Death Rates Shown for Some Major Diseases

JAMA. 1964;189(12):38. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070120118061

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Statistics complied by the National Health Education Committee, Inc., show that death rates due to acute rheumatic fever, influenza, tuberculosis, appendicitis, syphilis, and maternal deaths declined more than 80% in the period between 1944 and 1962—the latest year for which figures are available.

The death rate for rheumatic fever declined 90%, influenza 88%, tuberculosis 87%, appendicitis 85%, syphilis 82%, and maternal deaths 85%.

Infant deaths for the same period have declined 36% and pneumonia deaths have dropped 25%.

During the period from 1951 to 1962, deaths due to whooping cough[ill] declined 83%, dysentery 71%, acute[ill] nephritis 62%, hypertensive heart disease 40%, asthma 42%, and anemias 23%. There were only 60[ill] reported deaths due to poliomyelitis in 1962 as compared to 3,145 in the peak year of 1952.

Cardiovascular diseases and cancer were responsible for 71% of deaths in the US in 1962, the committee's report noted. Heart diseases and cancer

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