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Missouri's Infant Mortality at 10 Year High


Jefferson City, MO – State officials say Missouri's infant
mortality rate last year increased to its highest rate in a decade.

The Department of Health and Senior Services reports today that mortality rates for infants went up by 15 percent in 2002 over the previous year.

Officials said the infant death rate was 8.5 for every 1,000 live births last year, compared with 7.4 per 1,000 births two years ago.

State analyst Joseph Stockbauer says there's concern about the increase in rates, but it does not yet represent an overall trend.

He said state officials will closely monitor infant death rate data in the coming months.

During last year, the department also reported that the number of white infant deaths rose 22 percent while the black infant mortality rate increased just 2 percent.