Surveillance of sentinel occupational mortality in the District of Columbia: 1980 to 1987

Am J Public Health. 1992 Jan;82(1):117-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.82.1.117.


Epidemiological surveillance of sentinel occupationally related deaths commonly relies on computerized analyses of mortality data obtained from vital statistics records. A computer search of death records in the District of Columbia for the period 1980 to 1987 identified 15 cases that noted asbestosis, silicosis, coal worker's pneumoconiosis, or primary cancer of the pleura/mesothelioma as the underlying cause of death. A manual review of the death certificates for the same period identified three times as many cases (n = 48) with any mention of these conditions. Problems with performing surveillance of these events using death certificates include the lack of sufficient information to identify mesotheliomas and the failure to code and computerize all contributing causes of death.

MeSH terms

  • Abstracting and Indexing / standards
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Databases, Factual / standards
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Death Certificates*
  • District of Columbia / epidemiology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Surveillance / methods*