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Public Health Reports: Sensitivity and Positive Predictive Value of Death Certificate Data Among Deaths Caused by Legionnaires’ Disease in New York City, 2008-2013

In a recent article in Public Health Reports, Drs. David Lucero, Sharon Balter, Robert Fitzhenry, Mary Huynh, and Jay K. Varma and Ms. Olivia C. Tran of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Dr. Neil M. Vora of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluated the sensitivity and positive predictive value of death certificates for identifying confirmed or suspected Legionnaires’ disease (LD) deaths among adults in New York City (NYC). Death certificate data from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013 was matched to surveillance data on confirmed and suspected cases of LD spanning the same time period. Results indicated a 17.3 percent sensitivity for death certificates that listed LD as the underlying cause of death and a 20.9 percent sensitivity for death certificates with any mention of LD. The positive predictive value for both categories was 70.4 percent and 69.7 percent respectively. Thus, death certificates showed limited ability to identify confirmed or suspected deaths with LD listed as a cause of death. The authors concluded that there is a need to improve provider trainings on diagnosing LD and the proper completion of death certificates to better identify and report people who die of LD.

View the full article here.

Public Health Reports (PHR) is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service and has been published since 1878. It is published bimonthly, plus supplement issues, through an official agreement with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. PHR’s mission is to facilitate the movement of science into public health practice and policy to positively affect the health and wellness of the American public.

Visit Public Health Reports for more information about the journal.