Sep 23, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

CDC Map Shows Distinctive Causes of Death for Each State

May 17, 2015 07:16 PM EDT

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Have you ever wondered what the most distinctive causes of death were in your state?  Now, you can find out with a new map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The CDC has published a new map showing the most distinctive causes of death in each of the 50 states in the U.S.

The authors of the study said they were trying to provide residents in the United States with a more detailed view of the country's mortality variation.  While the researchers acknowledge that the most common types of death across the country were cancer and heart disease, this new map shows some types of death that are distinctive to each state specifically.

The research group began with 113 death causes, then they divided the mortality rates in different states by rates in the entire country.  Francis Boscoe, the study's co-author and a representative of the New York State Cancer Registry, said that this newly released map is just a provocative and colorful way of initiating conversations and underlining some bizarre trends the country currently has.

The causes of death identified by these researchers range from the common flu to HIV and the numbers put forward could be a surprise to many.  For instance, according to the map Florida has had approximately 15,000 deaths from HIV.  However, in Louisiana, the most distinctive death is syphilis but it has only caused 22 deaths.

In the regions of Idaho and Alaska, the most distinctive cause of death are airplane and boat accidents while in states such as Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennysylvania, lung disease becomes the most distinctive most likely because of the mining in the area.

Boscoe said that if a cause of death is nearly nonexistent in all parts of the country, but one state has a handful of that cause, the map will most likely show it. However, experts say that the anomaly might also be due to improper handling of paperwork by the country healthcare professionals.

The map will help in the understanding of cultural differences and different public health issues around the entire country.  It is important to note, however, that just because a particular cause of death is shown on the map, that doesn't mean it is the most common way to die in that particular state.  The map, as researchers have pointed out, shows the most distinctive types of death in each state in an effort to highlight public health risks and inform people of risks in their state.  It does not mean, for example, that just because you live in Idaho you will die in a plane crash.  

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