[Mortality from violent causes in the Americas].Bol Oficina Sanit Panam. 1993 Apr; 114(4):302-16.BO
With a view to assembling information to aid in decision-making with regard to prevention policies, a study of mortality from violent causes and its trends in the countries of the Americas was carried out. The study focused on persons under 24 years of age and utilized information from 1980 and 1986 taken from the data base of the Pan American Health Organization. The causes of death were grouped in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. Accidental deaths were separated from intentional deaths by means of the following classification: traffic accidents, other accidents, homicides, suicides, and "unknown causes." The information on violent deaths was compared with information on deaths from infectious diseases during the same period. The results indicate that in 1986, 517,465 deaths from violent causes were recorded in the 28 countries of the Region. Violent deaths as a proportion of total deaths ranged from 3.7% in Jamaica to 26.8% in El Salvador. It was observed that between 1980 and 1986 traffic accidents and "other accidents" tended to diminish but there was a moderate increase in suicides. Homicide rates varied markedly between the countries. In the under-1 and 1-4 year age groups, the highest rates corresponded to "other accidents," except in Chile, where among children aged 1-4 the largest proportion of deaths were attributed to "unknown causes." Comparative analysis of deaths from violent causes and from infectious diseases in the population aged 0-24 years showed that the former increase whereas the latter decrease as age increases. The study pointed up the need to promote further research on these phenomena in order to develop appropriate prevention strategies.