SA’s No. 1 serial killer

2014-12-03 00:00

YOU can’t lock the doors and shut the curtains to hide from South Africa’s number one serial killer — ­tuberculosis.

Stats SA yesterday released a report showing the mortality rate and reasons why South Africans died last year.

According to them, the number of deaths in 2013 was 458 933, showing that mortality rates continue to decline in the country as observed from 2007.

In 2013, the total number of deaths processed by Stats SA decreased by 6,5% from a total of 491 100 deaths in 2012.

The leading natural causes of death in the country, in order from highest to lowest, are: tuberculosis (48 409); influenza and pneumonia (23 727); hiv (23 203); cerebrovascular diseases (22 463); diabetes mellitus (22 796); and heart disease (21 104).

Closer to home, KZN showed ­similar causes of death, with HIV replacing influenza in second position.

Altogether, 84 193 (18, 3%) of the total deaths in the country happened here in KZN. In the uMgungundlovu District alone, tuberculosis killed 877 people — the number one natural killer in that area.

Non-natural causes in the district amounted to 1 043.

A slightly percentage of deaths were males (52,3%) compared to females (47,7%) and on average, males died earlier (50,3 years) than females (55,9 years).

According to Stats SA, although the number of deaths due to natural causes was higher than the number of deaths due to non-natural causes, the proportion of deaths due to non-natural caused has slight increased in South Africa in recent years.

Deaths due to non-natural causes were dominated by those due to ­“other external causes of accidental injury (60,1%)” followed by “event of undetermined intent (14,7%)”.

Deaths due to traffic accidents amounted to 11,2% of the non-natural total, and 10,2% were due to assault.

The ages that were mostly affected by non-natural causes were five to 29 years. More males died of non-natural causes compared to females.

Almost half (49,8%) of the ­deceased were reported as never having been married at the time of death and about a quarter (24,0%) of the deaths were among married people.

The statistics also showed that in 2013, 18,2% of the deceased were ­reported as smokers while 40,4% were reported as non-smokers.

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