Fillers The burden of disease

Deaths worldwide 1990-2020: pessimistic projection

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 26 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:937

These projections from the Global Burden of Disease Project contest the view that infectious diseases are making a comeback worldwide. This figure shows deaths projected to 2020. It's the worst case scenario: the data were estimated using the most pessimistic assumptions about income growth and advances in health technology. Despite this, mortality from infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions, and malnutrition are expected to fall slightly. The project's researchers associate this trend with the falling prevalence of these conditions, which began 40 years ago, and attribute it mainly to increased income, education, antimicrobials, and vaccines.


Reproduced with permission from Murray CJL, Lopez AD. The global burden of disease. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996

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