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Surveillance for fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries - United States, 1993-1998
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  • Description:
    Reports published in CDC surveillance summaries since January 1, 1991 -- Surveillance for fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries -United States, 1993-1998 -- Introduction -- Methods -- Results -- Discussion -- References -- Appendix: Standard error tables and formulas for fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries -- State and Territorial Epidemiologists and Laboratory Directors.

    Problem/Condition: Firearm-related injuries are the second leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Reporting Period: January 1993--December 1998. Description of the Systems: Data presented in this report regarding nonfatal injuries are from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. National estimates of nonfatal firearm-related injuries were derived using weighted data for patients treated in a nationally representative, stratified probability sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs). Death data presented in this report are from CDC's National Vital Statistics System, which includes information from all death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Population data for calculating rates were obtained from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Results: During 1993--1998, an estimated average of 115,000 firearm-related injuries (including 35,200 fatal and 79,400 nonfatal injuries) occurred annually in the United States. Males were seven times more likely to die or be treated in a hospital ED for a gunshot wound than females. The proportion of firearm-related injuries that resulted in death increased from younger to older age groups. Approximately 68% of firearm-related injuries for teenagers and young adults aged 15--24 years were from interpersonal violence, and 78% of firearm-related injuries among older persons aged >65 years were from intentionally self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Black males aged 20--24 years had the highest average annual fatal (166.7/100,000 population) and nonfatal (689.4/100,000 population) firearm-related injury rates during the 6-year period. Although 51.4% of intentionally self-inflicted nonfatal wounds were to the head or neck, 71.8% of unintentional and 45.8% of assault-related nonfatal wounds were to the extremities. During the 6-year period, estimates are that quarterly fatal firearm-related injury rates declined 29.3%, and quarterly nonfatal firearm-related injury rates declined 46.9%. Firearm-related injury rates declined for intentionally self-inflicted, assault, and unintentional causes. Interpretation: Data in this report regarding trends in firearm-related injury rates during 1993--1998 indicate that both mortality and morbidity from gunshot wounds declined substantially in the United States. However, firearm-related injury continues to be a public health concern accounting for approximately 31,000 deaths and 64,500 nonfatal injuries treated in hospital EDs in 1998. Public Health Action: A state-based, national reporting system is needed to track the incidence, detailed circumstances, characteristics of the shooter and injured person, and long-term consequences of fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries. These data would be useful for the design, implementation, and evaluation of prevention programs aimed at reducing the burden of firearm-related injuries in the United States

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