OBJECTIVE: To describe the global impact of infectious diseases on mortality in Italy from 1969 to 1999. DESIGN: Statistical analysis of routinely collected mortality data, using a revised definition of infectious causes of death based on target organs. SETTING: The present paper summarizes time trends of infectious disease mortality widely discussed in the Atlas "30 Anni di Malattie Infettive in Italia: Atlante di Mortalità". MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Age standardized mortality rates (/100,000); standardized mortality ratios (SMR); percentage of deaths attributable to infectious diseases. RESULTS: Apart from HIV infection and AIDS, infectious diseases were responsible of 1.7% of the overall mortality that occurred in Italy in the study period: 57.5% of such deaths were not included in the ICD8 and ICD9 codes for infectious diseases. The mortality for all infectious diseases showed a very strong downward trend up to 1994, (with a 6-fold decline). Thereafter, a slight increase in deaths for septicaemias, heart infections and hepatitis was recorded. Over time, an increasing proportions of deaths due to infections occurred in the elderly (i. e., > or = 65 years of age), from 48.1% in 1969-1979 to 77.3% in 1990-1999. Mortality rates were consistently higher in men than in women, and showed a substantial geographic heterogeneity. In newborns, from 1969 thru 1999 mortality rates declined 10-fold all over the country, but an inverse north-south geographic gradient persisted during the whole study period. The spread of HIV infection and AIDS epidemic in the first '80s dramatically interrupted the downward trend in infectious disease mortality outlined above. Between 1993 and 1996, HIV/AIDS was the main cause of death among Italian men aged 30 to 39 years. CONCLUSIONS: This statistical analysis allowed to better quantify the impact of infectious diseases on overall mortality in Italy. Observed time trends were in accordance to the picture recorded in other western Countries, whereas the higher newborn mortality in southern Italy reflects the persistence of geographical inequalities in the health care organization.
|Translated title of the contribution||Time trends in infectious disease mortality in Italy: 1969-1999|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Epidemiologia e prevenzione|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|