World health report

Global life expectancy reaches new heights but 21 million face premature death this year, warns WHO

Leading causes of death in 1997

In 1997, of a global total of 52.2 million deaths, 17.3 million were due to infectious and parasitic diseases; 15.3 million were due to circulatory diseases; 6.2 million were due to cancer; 2.9 million were due to respiratory diseases, mainly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and 3.6 million were due to perinatal conditions.

The leading killers among infectious diseases were acute lower respiratory infections (3.7 million), tuberculosis (2.9 million), diarrhoea (2.5 million), HIV/AIDS (2.3 million), and malaria (1.52.7 million). Most deaths from circulatory diseases were coronary heart disease (7.2 million), and cerebrovascular disease (4.6 million). Leading causes of death from cancers were those of the lung (1.1 million), stomach (765 000), colon and rectum (525 000) liver (505 000), and breast (385 000).