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Influenza and Pneumonia Mortality Trends 2000-2007                                                                        DS 10-10000


Among the leading causes of death in California, influenza and pneumonia ranked 8th from 2005 to 2007, which is a decrease from the previous four years when influenza and pneumonia ranked 6th. 1  The two diseases are traditionally classified together, as influenza frequently progresses to pneumonia.  Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus, whereas pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs often caused by bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents.2  Since the influenza virus is continually mutating and severity can vary, the number of annual influenza deaths fluctuates.  

People considered at high risk for influenza and pneumonia include the elderly, the very young, and those with underlying health problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, and sickle cell disease.2  Adults aged 65 and older are more likely to have serious complications from influenza.  Throughout the study period, California residents who were 85 and older accounted for over 50 percent of influenza and pneumonia deaths and when measured from 65 and older accounted for 90 percent of these deaths (Table 1a (PDF)Opens a new browser window.).  It is anticipated the H1N1 influenza virus may affect the age distribution of these deaths for calendar years 2009 and 2010; however, no data is available at this time.

Vaccinations are effective in preventing influenza as well as some strains of bacterial pneumonia, and are recommended for high-risk groups.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed a 10-year plan to improve the health of the nation.  Known as Healthy People 2010 (HP2010), the plan includes objectives related to increasing the number of people vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia.3  In addition, Goal 1 in the California Department of Public Health Strategic Plan includes objectives to increase the proportion of adults who are vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia.4  Measuring the success of these objectives requires specific data collection methods not covered in this report.

Data on California resident deaths due to influenza and pneumonia from 2000 through 2007 are presented in this report.  The data are extracted from vital statistics records with the underlying cause of death attributable to influenza or pneumonia as defined by the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes J09-J18, in accordance with National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reports.5  This code range includes almost all infectious causes of pneumonia (bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic), but excludes aspiration pneumonia, lung abscesses, Legionnaire’s Disease, and SARS.

This report presents different measures of influenza and pneumonia mortality, including number of deaths; crude, age-specific, and age-adjusted death rates; and rate differentials and percent change.  The report presents data in four major sections.  The first section discusses the number of deaths by age, sex, and race.  It further examines crude, age-specific, and age-adjusted rates for all Californians.  The second section examines the total number of deaths, and crude, age-specific and age-adjusted rates by sex.  The third section reviews the total number of deaths, and crude, age-specific, and age-adjusted rates by race/ethnicity groups.  The last section of the report examines death trends among California residents at the county level.  In addition, data from the last year under consideration are analyzed in more depth. 

Detailed tables are also provided.  Table 1a (PDF)Opens a new browser window. shows raw counts by age groups and ethnicity.   Table 1b (PDF)Opens a new browser window. and Table 1c (PDF)Opens a new browser window. show the same information by sex and race/ethnicity for years 2000 through 2007.  Table 2a (PDF)Opens a new browser window. shows age-specific death rates by age group, and Table 2b (PDF)Opens a new browser window. and 2c (PDF)Opens a new browser window. show the same information by sex and race/ethnicity.  Table 3 (PDF)Opens a new browser window. shows age-adjusted rates and 95 percent confidence intervals by sex and race/ethnicity from 2000 2007.  Table 4 (PDF)Opens a new browser window. presents raw counts of deaths by county.  Table 5 (PDF)Opens a new browser window. displays age-adjusted rates by county of residence for 2000 through 2007, and Table 6 (PDF)Opens a new browser window. shows 95 percent confidence intervals for the age-adjusted rates in Table 5 (PDF)Opens a new browser window..

Read More: 
At a Glance
California Total Population
Male and Female Populations
Race/Ethnic Group Differences 
Sex Differences within Race/Ethnic Groups
County of Residence Populations 
Tables (PDF)Opens a new browser window.
Technical Notes  
Vital Statistics Query System 

Helpful Resources
 California Department of Public Health
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention , Influenza
 American Lung Association: Influenza and Pneumonia

Last modified on: 1/22/2016 1:19 PM