A new CDC study
highlights the causes of death most distinctive to each of the U.S. states between 2001 and 2010. Not the most common causes — those are things like heart disease and cancer in all states — but causes that individual states see with greater frequency than their peers.
we need to worry more than residents of any other state about dying from meningococcal infections — the cause of meningitis. Not too much, though, meningitis is still really rare, just less rare here than in other places. Between 26 and 76 Washingtonians are infected each year, and between one and eight of those infections end up being fatal. That's nearly three times as many as the national average.
Meningococcal infections are highly contagious and attack the central nervous system, circulating through the blood stream and spinal cord. They occasionally pop up in dorms, jails and other crowded living areas; many universities now require dorm dwellers to be vaccinated to avoid outbreaks. So, yeah, a vaccine exists and we should all just get it so we don't have to be known for a gross disease in future CDC studies.
stands out for its high rate of deaths stemming from water, air, space and unspecified transport accidents, probably because of all the amazing outdoors stuff and the crazy ways people navigate to ogle and enjoy it. Be more careful in your airplanes, boats and other vessels, Idahoans.
Some other states with curious, distinctive causes of death:
- Texans are more likely to die of tuberculosis
- HIV is the one to worry about in Florida
- Live in Arizona? Watch out for people firing guns with "undetermined intent"
- In Alabama and Tennessee you're more likely to get shot by someone who doesn't mean to fire their gun at all
- Utah? Actually, the CDC doesn't even know what's going on there, watch out for "unspecified events of undetermined intent" and their aftermath