Medical Definition of Rate, mortality

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Rate, mortality: A death rate. There are a number of different types of mortality rates as, for examples, the following:

  • The fetal mortality rate: The ratio of fetal deaths to the sum of the births (the live births + the fetal deaths) in that year.
  • The infant mortality rate: The number of children dying under a year of age divided by the number of live births that year.
  • The maternal mortality rate: The number of maternal deaths related to childbearing divided by the number of live births (or by the number of live births + fetal deaths) in that year.

The word "mortality" came from the Latin "mors" (death). Mortality is distinct from morbidity (illness). A condition such as tuberculosis can cause morbidity and mortality (disease and death). The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is an important weekly publication by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC).

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018