Friday, May 20, 2022

Virginia Department of Health Launches New Epidemiology Reports

The Virginia Department of Health has released new reports that focus on alcohol-related deaths as well as self-harm and suicide among youth in the Commonwealth (Pexels/Prem Pal Singh Tanwar)

STATEWIDE — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is launching a new section on the Data Portal page on the VDH website called Epidemiology Reports.

VDH’s data portal provides a convenient access point for public health-related data for Virginia. The new Epidemiology Reports section will contain reports that are a collaboration between various epidemiologists and data scientists at VDH on important public health topics.

The new Epidemiology Reports page can be found here: www.vdh.virginia.gov/data/epidemiology-reports/.

“The first two reports we are posting address key issues that result in harm or death that have been on the increase, both in Virginia and nationwide,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “More importantly, these health conditions have been shown to be amenable to intervention, and are thus topics that demand attention and collaboration across our communities and our Commonwealth.”

“We are pleased to provide a new regular series of short reports for the general public, health professionals and policymakers that focus on key aspects of major public health issues in Virginia and highlight the work of VDH epidemiologists,” said State Epidemiologist Lilian Peake, MD, MPH.

The first two reports to be added to the Epidemiology Reports sections are Self-Harm and Suicide Among Virginia Youth Aged 9-18 Years, 2015-2021 and Alcohol-Related Death in Virginia, 2016-2020.

In the first report, Self-Harm and Suicide Among Virginia Youth Aged 9-18 Years, 2015-2021, VDH examined self-harm and suicide among youth aged 9-18 years in Virginia using data from 2016-2021 for emergency department (ED) visits, 2016-2020 for nonfatal inpatient hospitalizations, and 2015-2021 for deaths by suicide.

Key findings from this report include:

  • Self-harm ED visits and nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations are increasing. No comparable increase in suicides among youth 9-18 years in Virginia.
  • The majority of persons with self-harm ED visits (68 percent) and nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations (74 percent) among Virginia youth were female. However, the majority of deaths (71 percent) by suicide were among males.
  • More than nine out of 10 nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations among youth were due to drug poisonings, compared to 7 percent of all youth suicides. Guns were the most common cause of youth suicide (51 percent).
  • While the highest self-harm ED visit rate occurred in the Northwest region, the highest rate of self-harm hospitalizations and deaths by suicide occurred in the Central region.
  • Young Virginians were hospitalized for self-harm-related injuries for 1,588 days with more than $13 million dollars in hospitalization costs in 2020.

In the second report, Alcohol-Related Death in Virginia, 2016-2020, VDH examined alcohol-related death in Virginia to describe the full range of causes of alcohol-related death and changes in these deaths over time using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) Application.

Key findings from this report include:

  • The number of alcohol-related deaths in Virginia increased each year from 2016 to 2020, with the greatest increase in 2020.
  • Alcoholic liver disease was the most common alcohol-related death.
  • Males died of an alcohol-related death at higher rates than females.
  • Black Virginians had the highest rate of alcohol-related death.
  • People aged 85+ years are at highest risk of alcohol-related death in Virginia.
  • Rural areas have higher rates of alcohol-related death than urban areas.

Additional reports will be added to the Epidemiology Reports page as they become available.

For more information on either of these reports, please contact Population Health at population.health@vdh.virginia.gov.

This story is brought to WYDaily readers courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health.

If you or someone you know is in distress, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. For more urgent matters, please dial 9-1-1.

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