Monday, May 07, 2007

Thought you might be interested in the prevalence of somewhat unusual causes of death around the world, according to Nation Master. I assume each figure is for one year, and they're absolute numbers, not per capita or per million or whatever. I've listed only the leading country for each one.

Accidental suffocation in bed: US 327
Acne: Mexico 3
Anthrax: Romania 2
Bitten by rat: Colombia 1
Cellulitis: US 799
Chlamydia: Germany 3
Contact with agricultural machinery: US 245
Contact with hornets, wasps, or bees: Mexico 88
Contact with marine animal: Australia 3
Contact with powered lawnmower: US 27
Contact with venomous snakes: Thailand 91
Crushed, pushed, or stepped on by a crowd: South Korea 4
Discharge of fireworks: Netherlands 23
Explosions: US 197
Exposure to electric current: Brazil 1214
Fecal incontinence: Egypt 8
Fall from cliff: US 82
Female genital prolapse: US 23
Flatulence and related conditions: Egypt 8
Gangrene: Egypt 216
Hemorrhoids: Thailand 28
Heartburn: Ecuador 186
Indeterminate sex and pseudohermaphroditism: Brazil 4
Inhalation of gastric contents: Japan 1207
Intentional self-poisoning by alcohol: Romania 58
Irritable bowel syndrome: US 26
Malaise and fatigue: US 277
Malignant neoplasm of penis: US 217
Mental and behavioral disorders due to use of cannabinoids: Mexico 4
Phimosis: Mexico 2
Retention of urine: Egypt 21
Sunburn: Poland 3
Victim of lightning: Mexico 223

Notes: Obviously these figures are very incomplete. Shouldn't be surprising that the US so often ranks first, since it's by far the biggest Western country. It's actually not that unusual to go out like Bon Scott and Jimi Hendrix in Japan. Countries that rank high in several categories, like Egypt and Mexico, probably have pretty good health care and record keeping compared to real hellholes like Haiti and Niger, where many deaths probably go unreported. I don't know why China and India don't show up in these lists. How does one die of acne or cellulitis? Next time somebody tells you no one has ever died from smoking pot, you tell them that it's responsible for four deaths a year in Mexico. And how exactly do you die of sunburn in Poland? Maybe the jokes have some basis in truth.

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