African American Infant Mortality Rate More Than Triples over Previous Years

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 9:07am

Public Health Outlines Plans for Response

In 2010 there were 30 infant deaths reported in Dane County for all races, or a rate of 5 deaths per 1000 live births, up only slightly from 2009. However, 10 of these 30 deaths were African American infants yielding a black infant mortality rate of 19.2. Dane County black infant mortality rates, from 2008 through 2010, averaged 17 per 1000 live births: far above rates for other races and more than triple the black infant mortality rates of previous years.

During both good and bad years, the primary contributor to infant death is premature births. True to form, rates of premature birth to African American mothers appear to be rising. Dr. Thomas L. Schlenker, Director of Public Health Madison and Dane County addressed this rise and specifically the role that prenatal support plays in preventing premature birth. "It is urgent to better understand why we have returned to the excessive infant mortality of the 1990s and to respond." During a Thursday news conference he outlined plans for further research and evaluation of the effectiveness of direct public health services and collaboration with partner organizations and the community.

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Contacts: 
  • Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302