PLOS One, Published Online 11 December 2014
By David J. Meyers, Maria Elena Hood, and Thomas J. Stopka
Infectious diseases, while associated with a much smaller proportion of deaths than they were 50 years ago, still play a significant role in mortality across the state of Massachusetts. Most analysis of infectious disease mortality in the state only take into account the underlying cause of death, rather than contributing causes of death, which may not capture the full extent of mortality trends for infectious diseases such as HIV and the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
In this study we sought to evaluate current trends in infectious disease mortality across the state using a multiple cause of death methodology. We performed a mortality trend analysis, identified spatial clusters of disease using a 5-step geoprocessing approach and examined spatial-temporal clustering trends in infectious disease mortality in Massachusetts from 2002–2011, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and HCV.
Significant clusters of high infectious disease mortality in space and time throughout the state were detected through both spatial and space time cluster analysis. The most significant clusters occurred in Springfield, Worcester, South Boston, the Merrimack Valley, and New Bedford with other smaller clusters detected across the state. Multiple cause of death mortality rates were much higher than underlying cause mortality alone, and significant disparities existed across race and age groups.
We found that our multi-method analyses, which focused on contributing causes of death, were more robust than analyses that focused on underlying cause of death alone. Our results may be used to inform public health resource allocation for infectious disease prevention and treatment programs, provide novel insight into the current state of infectious disease mortality throughout the state, and benefited from approaches that may more accurately document mortality trends.”