Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
PAES, Neir Antunes and SILVA, Lenine Angelo A.. Infectious and parasitic diseases in Brazil: a decade of transition. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.2, pp. 99-109. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999000700004.
Brazil has been undergoing a period of epidemiological and demographic transition, which has included an improvement in the quality of death certificate registrations and major changes in the patterns of mortality from infectious and parasitic diseases. This article outlines the changes in the mortality patterns that were observed in the country and in its states during the decade of the 1980s. We used data from the Ministry of Health Mortality Information System, classified according to the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision. Our analysis showed important changes in mortality patterns in Brazil. Mortality from infectious diseases decreased by 41% among men and by 44% among women. While these types of changes were especially noticeable in the states of the North and Northeast, these states still have the highest mortality rates in the country. The changes particularly affected the extreme limits of the age continuum, most especially children under 1 year of age. Within the group of infectious and parasitic diseases, we also assessed the mortality due to intestinal infectious diseases, tuberculosis, and septicemia. We found that in the 1980s there was a major decrease in the rates of mortality due to intestinal infectious diseases and to tuberculosis. However, there was an increase in the risk of death from septicemia during the decade. In conclusion, we find that the rate of mortality caused by infectious and parasitic diseases remains high in Brazil. Therefore, Brazilian health authorities still need to give priority attention to this cause of death.