Don't worry, it's not too late to get vaccinated against the flu virus.
Statistics South Africa Report NrP0309.2 The full report can be found on the STATSSA website http://www.statssa.gov.za/ look under 'releases' and follow the drop down menu to select 'Causes of Death in South Africa 1997-2001' EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This study was undertaken by Statistics South Africa to investigate the causes of death in South Africa during the period 1997-2001. It was based on a 12 percent stratified random sample of deaths occurring during the study period. Causes of death were coded by utilizing guidelines contained in the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (i.e.,ICD-10).The results of this study depict changes in mortality patterns over time. These changes have tended to affect South Africans differently, depending on population group, sex and age. The five leading underlying causes of death among South Africans between 1997 and 2001 were unspecified unnatural causes (e.g., suicide, drowning, motor accidents), ill-defined causes, TB, HIV, and influenza and pneumonia, accounting for 40,9 percent of deaths in the sample. Mortality due to unspecified unnatural causes declined significantly during the study period. This decline seems to have been offset by a steep rise in mortality due to HIV, TB, and influenza and pneumonia. For example, the proportion of deaths due to HIV nearly doubled from 4,6 percent in 1997 to 8,7 percent in 2001, whereas the proportion of deaths due to unspecified unnatural causes declined from 15,3 to 8,2 percent during the same period. Females were more likely to die from HIV and influenza and pneumonia. Males, on the other hand, had the highest prevalence of TB and unspecified unnatural causes, the proportion of males dying from unspecified unnatural causes being about three times that of females. Causes of death differ significantly by age group. Children aged 0-14 primarily died from intestinal infectious diseases. Between 1997 and 2001 the proportion of children dying from HIV and influenza and pneumonia increased, while deaths due to unspecified unnatural causes declined. The prevalence of TB was lowest among children aged 0-14, the proportion dying due to this cause being approximately 2 percent. Males aged 15-39 experienced the highest mortality attributable to unspecified unnatural causes, whereas females in the same age category died primarily as a result of HIV infections. For both males and females, there was a sharp decline in deaths due to unspecified unnatural causes. By contrast, the proportion dying from TB, HIV, and influenza and pneumonia increased significantly. However, the proportion of deaths due to HIV was about three times higher among females aged 15-29 than among males, the proportion due to this cause being 22,5 and 8,5 percent, respectively. In the age group 40-49 the two leading underlying causes of death among males were unspecified unnatural causes and TB, whereas ill-defined causes and HIV were the two leading causes among females. The cause of death pattern among persons aged 50 and above is unique in that TB, HIV, and influenza and pneumonia are not significant causes of death. Rather, cerebrovascular diseases, other forms of heart disease and general symptoms and signs feature prominently. Diabetes is also a significant cause of death among females aged 50 and above, ranking as the fifth leading cause. An analysis of sample data by population group reveals striking differentials in mortality patterns by population group. While the main causes of death among Africans and coloureds were TB, HIV, influenza and pneumonia, and unspecified unnatural causes, whites and Indians tend to die of diabetes, ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases. It is interesting to note that for African and coloured males, the leading causes of death are unspecified unnatural causes and TB, while for Indian and white males the leading causes are cerebrovascular diseases and unspecified natural causes. By contrast, HIV is the leading cause of death among African females. Cerebrovascular diseases is the leading cause of death among coloured females and ischaemic heart disease the leading cause among Indian and white females. Results of this study show that the highest prevalence of HIV deaths is among African females (13,5 percent), females aged 15-29 (24,3 percent) and females aged 30-39 (20,5 percent). The lowest prevalence of HIV deaths is among white females, with only 0,7 percent of deaths due to this cause.(Source: Statistics South Africa Report NrP0309.2)