Winnebago County infant mortality rate lowest in history

Winnebago County infant mortality rate lowest in history


The Winnebago County infant mortality rate dropped to the lowest in history in 2001, which is encouraging news since the rate had been on the rise since 1988.

The infant mortality rate for 2001 was 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, a decline of 41.4 percent from the rate in 2000 of 9.9, according to data compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Furthermore, this was a 46.3 percent decrease from the highest rate of the decade in 1994 of 10.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. The previous all-time low was 6.3, which was documented in 1997 and 1998.

“Because Winnebago County has such a relatively small number of births in comparison to the state, we are much more likely to see yearly fluctuations in the number of infant deaths,” said Mike Bacon, health director for the Winnebago County Health Department.

“However, when you merge years into larger time blocks, or use a line of best fit through the annual rates over time, the overall community trend is clearly downward.”

These improvements come from increasing access of mothers and infants to prenatal support services, such as the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). Family Case Management (FCM) improved participation in prenatal care and access to excellent neonatal care for high risk births.

In 2001, 23 infants in Winnebago County died before 1 year of age, which was the lowest for any year recorded by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Women in Winnebago County gave birth to 3,938 babies in 2001, compared with 4,021 in 2000.

The reduction in the infant mortality rate was also seen throughout the state of Illinois.

The national goal for 2010 for the infant mortality rate is to not have more than 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. According to Bacon, “This year’s rate of 5.8 and the average rate for the past five years of 7.4 put this community on the right path to achieve, or improve upon, this important national health objective.”

As is also the case with Illinois, the infant mortality rate in Winnebago County of African-Americans is far higher than that of Caucasians. For example, the average infant mortality rate for 1990-2000 for whites was 7.0, whereas the rate for blacks was 19.7 per 1,000 live births. Therefore, the real work must focus particularly on African-American births to have a more dramatic influence on healthy birth outcomes. The infant mortality rate is calculated on an annual basis dividing the number of infants who die before 1 year of age by the total number of babies born in the same year, then multiplying that by 1,000.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!