TB and HIV-related illness top causes of death

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Tuberculosis and HIV-related illnesses were the two leading causes of death among young people in 2013, details released by Statistics South Africa have revealed. News24 reports that of the 77,822 people below the ages of 35 who died in 2013, 10,962 died from TB, 7,890 succumbed to HIV, and “other viral diseases”, which were third on the list, accounted for 4,400 deaths.

Although the number of young people who died decreased from 86,925 in 2012, female deaths contributed the highest to the total during the era of increasing mortality between 1997 and 2005.

The figures show that white South African youth, with the highest medical aid coverage at 73.4%, had fewer deaths compared with black and coloured youth who had the lowest medical aid coverage at 8.8% and 18.7% respectively.

But the report also pointed out that “natural causes” were the most common cause of death, contributing 71.9% to the total deaths that occurred among the youth in 2013, with non-natural causes contributing 29% of all deaths.

As was the case in 2012, males were more likely to die from non-natural causes compared with females. Among young males, 43.2% of deaths were due to non-natural causes compared with 10.4% for females. “Young females had a higher proportion dying from natural causes (89.6%) than young males (56.8%),” found the report.

The statistics show that Indian and white youth died from injuries compared with black youth, most of whom died from TB-related illnesses. Influenza and pneumonia were ranked fourth overall on the causes of death list, with 3,603 youth dying from the viruses.

“The leading cause of death, tuberculosis, was ranked first for the African and Indian/Asian population groups while it was ranked second for the coloured population group and seventh for the white population group. For the white population, the leading cause of death was ischemic heart diseases and for the coloured population group it was the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease,” said the report.

Full News24 report
Statistics South Africa material


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