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August 4, 1999

Public Health Surveillance for Firearm Injuries

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(5):429-430. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-5-jbk0804

To the Editor: Firearm injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. However, there is no comprehensive surveillance system in place to monitor them. Vital statistics capture external cause of E-coded firearm-related mortality data but lack important information, such as circumstances and specific firearm type. Statistical samples of patient visits, such as those provided by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, are able to provide national estimates of nonfatal firearm injuries seen in emergency departments, but do not permit estimates for smaller geographic regions. As a result, the burden of such data collection falls to state and local health departments.