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2019 to 2020 Saw Increase in Rate of Firearm Injury EMS Encounters

Higher rates seen for males than females, among non-Hispanic Black or African Americans, and in those aged 15 to 24 years

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 21, 2024 (HealthDay News) — The rate of firearm injury emergency medical services (EMS) encounters increased from 2019 to 2020 and remained elevated through 2023, according to research published in the June 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Adam Rowh, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined annual and monthly rates of EMS encounters for firearm injury per 100,000 total EMS encounters during January 2019 to September 2023 in 858 counties in 27 states.

The researchers found that the annual rates of firearm injury EMS encounters varied from 222.7 to 294.9 per 100,000 total EMS encounters in 2019 and 2020, respectively; through 2023, rates remained above prepandemic levels. In subgroup analyses, consistently higher rates were seen for males than females; among non-Hispanic Black or African American persons; and for those aged 15 to 24 years. Urban counties and counties with higher prevalence of severe housing problems, higher income inequality ratios, and higher rates of unemployment had the greatest percentage increases in annual rates.

“The unequal distribution of high rates and increases in firearm injury EMS encounters highlight the need for states and communities to develop and implement comprehensive firearm injury prevention strategies,” the authors write.

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