Dr. med. Dirk Manski



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Mortality Rate: Indicator in Epidemiology

The term mortality comes from the Latin word mortalitas. The mortality rate is a parameter in epidemiology for characterizing the deaths within a given population.

Definition of Mortality Rate

The mortality rate is the number of deaths within a given population in a given time period. The mortality rate is typically expressed in number of deaths per 1,000 or 100,000 individuals per year. The following mortality rates are distinguished:

Crude Death Rate

The crude death rate is the total number of deaths per year per 1,000 people. The crude death rate in Germany is around 10–11/1,000 per year, for the whole world the crude death rate is 8–9/1,000 per year.

Age-Specific Mortality

Age-specific mortality is the number of deaths in a given age group per time, usually expressed per 1,000 or 100,000 persons per year. An example is the infant mortality rate (children who die before age of one year, 4/1,000 in 2005 in Germany).

Disease-Specific Mortality

Disease-specific mortality is the number of deaths due to a given disease per time, usually expressed per 1,000 or 100,000 persons per year. An example is the mortality from prostate cancer (25/100,000 per year (2000) in Germany).

Event-Specific Mortality

Event-specific mortality is the number of deaths due to an event, usually expressed per 1,000 or 100,000 events. An example is the maternal mortality rate, defined by WHO as "Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes." The maternal mortality rate was 12 per 100,000 women in labor in Germany in 2003.



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  Deutsche Version: Mortalität