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Injury Patterns in 16th Century England Still Relevant

Travel accounted for most unintentional injury deaths, as it does now in developing countries

FRIDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In 15th, 16th and 17th century England, travel accounted for most unintentional injury deaths among adults, a pattern still seen today in the developing world, according to a report published in the November issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Elizabeth Towner, M.D., of the University of the West of England in Bristol, U.K., and a colleague reviewed Sussex, England coroners' records from 1485 to 1688, and analyzed 442 adult deaths that resulted from unintentional injuries.

The researchers found that travel was the most hazardous activity. Drowning often resulted from crossing rivers by bridge or ferry, or from falling into ditches, and accounted for 38 percent of the deaths. Accidents during land travel, such as falling from a moving vehicle or horse, accounted for 30 percent of the deaths. They also found that more than six times as many men as women died from unintentional injuries (86 percent versus 14 percent).

"The epidemiology of injury described here echoes the situation in many developing countries today," the authors write. "However, although it took 200 to 300 years to substantially reduce injury for adults in Britain, we should not be daunted by the task elsewhere. Despite the huge numbers involved, injury prevention in poor regions can draw upon an extensive network of organizations, resources and knowledge to confront the problem."

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