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Decreasing incidence of burn injury in a rural state
  1. D E Clark,
  2. C N Dainiak,
  3. S Reeder
  1. Department of Surgery, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr David E Clark, Department of Surgery, Maine Medical Center, 887 Congress Street, Portland ME 04102, USA (


Objectives—To determine changes in the incidence of burn injury since the regionalization of burn care and intensification of fire prevention initiatives that occurred in Maine during the 1970s.

Methods—Death certificate data from Maine and the United States for deaths due to fire or burns were obtained for 1960–98. Hospitalization and burn registry data were obtained for Maine from 1973–98. Frequencies and incidence rates were compared over time and, where possible, between Maine and the United States.

Results—During 1960–79, annual burn mortality in Maine averaged 5.1/100 000, with random variation. After this, the rate declined steadily to an average annual level of 1.4/100 000 during 1993–96. For the entire United States, average annual mortality declined from 4.2/100 000 during 1961–64 to 1.5/100 000 during 1993–96. Reduction in mortality has been principally due to prevention of dwelling fires. Hospitalization for burns in Maine was 34.8/100 000 during 1973–76 and declined to 10.6/100 000 during 1995–98.

Conclusions—Burn prevention measures have dramatically reduced the incidence of death and hospitalization resulting from burns in Maine.

  • burn
  • fatality
  • epidemiology
  • surveillance

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