Odd Diseases People Are Most Likely to Die From in Every U.S. State

The U.S. may be divided, however nearly every state dies from the same causes: heart disease and cancer. After these two fatal diseases, stroke, respiratory disease, and accidents follow suit. While over 1 million people die from these diseases, that doesn’t account for the other 2.5 million people on average who die per year.

The CDC released a comprehensive list that details some of the oddest diseases prevalent in each of the 50 U.S. states — and some of them may surprise you. The causes of death represent, at most, 1.8% of all deaths in a given state. So, what is plaguing your state?

Missouri and Washington: Meningitis

A doctor vaccinates a patient in the arm.

Meningitis is a common disease in certain states. | Fotograv/iStock/Getty Images

About 1,000 people get meningococcal disease (meningitis) each year in the U.S. The likelihood of getting the disease is greater in Washington and Missouri, with 78 cases reported among the two states over the course of the study.

Although meningococcal disease, or meningitis, is somewhat rare, 10 to 14% of infected people die from it. In instances where it is not fatal, the disease can lead to permanent brain damage, loss of hearing, loss of arms and legs, and potentially lifelong disability according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Next: What’s stumping New Jersey residents.

New Jersey: Septicemia

A doctor about to vaccinate a patient.

The cause of the infection isn’t so clear. | Picsfive/iStock/Getty Images

Septicemia is an infection of the blood stream that can be caused by a bacteria contamination of IV lines or catheters in hospitals. The disease can also result from the smallest of cuts on the hands or feet of people with diabetes. You’re more vulnerable to septicemia if you have a notably weak immune system.

A nj.com article speculated potential explanations for the prevalence, and reported that the researchers were puzzled by the results.

Next: If you live in Louisiana, watch out for this rare disease.

Louisiana: Syphilis

A doctor and patient look over a chart.

Syphilis should be treated right away. | NanoStockk/iStock/Getty Images

Syphilis, a rare and highly contagious sexually transmitted disease, killed only 22 Louisiana residents the year the CDC report was released. However, it’s still a cause for concern; the disease is fatal and tough to treat if caught.

The state has higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than other states as well. Louisiana ranks third in chlamydia cases. Louisiana’s rate for gonorrhea is 202.3, nearly twice the national average of 104.2, and the rate of primary and secondary syphilis is 9.9, more than twice the national average of 4.5.

Next: This Texas disease can be resistant to drugs and hard to beat.

Texas: Tuberculosis

A doctor inspects the x-ray of a patient.

A treatment for tuberculosis is often hard to pinpoint. | Remains/iStock/Getty Images

In 2016, 1,250 cases of TB were reported in the state of Texas. Tuberculosis is curable with proper treatment, however there are a few strains resistant to treatment. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported that TB is most prevalent along the Texas-Mexico border. XDR-TB, or extensively drug-resistant TB, is the most difficult form of TB to treat.

Next: What Florida and the District of Columbia have in common.

Florida and the District of Columbia: HIV

A doctor holds blood samples in a lab.

In 2014, 2,000 patients died from HIV. | Jarun011/iStock/Getty Images

Human immunodeficiency virus, a virus transmitted by bodily fluids, attacks your immune system and its ability to ward off further infections. The disease can lead to acquired immunodeficiency virus if untreated, and isn’t curable; HIV is a lifelong condition.

Both Florida and D.C. showed the highest number of HIV-related deaths based on population from 2000 to 2010. Nearly 2,000 Florida residents died of HIV in 2014, while the disease proved fatal for only 113 D.C. residents. South Florida led the U.S. in HIV diagnoses in 2016.

Next: What Mississippi residents should watch out for.

Mississippi: Unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic, and related tissue

A doctor working with blood samples in a lab.

A common cause of death in Mississippi. | iStock.com

Neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic, and related tissues are cancerous tumors that affect the blood, bone marrow, lymph, and lymphatic system. These unspecified tumors caused 18 deaths in the state of Mississippi over the course of the study.

Next: These states need more vitamin A, stat.

Hawaii, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Vermont: Nutritional deficiencies

A sick man lays on a couch

Regular blood tests can spot severe vitamin deficiencies. | iStock.com

These four states led the country with the highest prevalence of death (based on population) by nutritional deficiency from 2000 to 2010. One hundred and fifty-nine people died in these four states as a result.

Nutritional issues like vitamin A deficiencies can be harmful to your eye health and reproductive health. Pregnant women with vitamin A deficiencies have higher maternal mortality rates than those with healthy levels of the vitamin.

Next: These states may not know what’s killing them until it’s too late.

Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina: Coronary heart disease

Stethoscope sitting on an red ECG printout.

Virginia, Oklahoma, and South CarolinaHeart attacks can come without warning. | RTimages/iStock/Getty Images

Acute ischemic heart conditions like coronary heart disease plague Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina more than any other states. The American Heart Association describes ischemic heart conditions as heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart muscle.

Silent ischemia is a cause for concern as well. Silent ischemia, or ischemia without pain, can affect people with angina or diabetes specifically. These people may have a heart attack with no prior warning.

Next: Watch your cholesterol levels, Colorado.

Colorado: Atherosclerosis

Doctor and patient

Colorado found themselves with a surprising amount of atherosclerosis-related deaths.  | AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Atherosclerosis is a complicated term that simply refers to the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. The disease reflects the role that cholesterol plays in your health, and develops when fatty deposits block your arteries. The Washington Post reported 3,457 atherosclerosis-related deaths in Colorado alone following the study.

Next: These states should be wary of heart palpitations.

Delaware and Michigan: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

A doctor and patient have a discussion in the office.

Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease develops when the aforementioned atherosclerosis affects the arteries surrounding your heart. Most ASCVD deaths occur as a result of heart attacks caused by blood clots. It has the highest death toll out of all of the diseases listed and killed 40, 591 people in Delaware and Michigan from 2001 to 2010.

Next: If you live in one of these states, be sure to get your flu shot.

Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming: Influenza

A sick man lies in bed, holding his forehead.

Time to start taking those flu symptoms seriously. | iStock.com

Most people equate the flu with a common cold. Flu shots and vaccines are easily accessible and effective. However, there are still fatal cases of influenza. The unique cause of death is prevalent in Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming more than any other states. Influenza was the cause of 427 deaths in these four states according to the report.

Next: This cough could be deadly.

Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio: Acute lower respiratory infections

Sick woman cough in bed under a blanket.

Better get that cough checked out. | Samotrebizan/iStock/Getty Images

Lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis killed 231 people in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The infections were categorized as “unspecified,” so physicians can only speculate which disease the deceased may have suffered from. Bronchitis is a good guess, as it’s the most common lower respiratory tract infection and the most common cause of hospital admission in the first 12 months of life.

Next: These states’ jobs are putting them at risk.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky: Black lung disease

A city skylight seen surrounded by pollution.

Harmful pollutants in the air led to respiratory illnesses. | iStock.com

Black lung disease, or pneumoconiosis, killed nearly 3,000 people in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky over the course of a decade. Pneumoconiosis is a lung condition caused by inhaling particles of mineral dust, usually while working in a high-risk, mineral-related industry. Asbestos, silicosis, and coal worker’s pneumoconiosis are the most common types in the U.S. NPR conducted a recent report on the prevalence of black lung disease in Appalachia, which showed 1,000 new cases developed in 2017 alone.

Next: These kidney syndromes are fatal.

Montana: Rapidly progressive nephritic and nephrotic syndrome

Emergency Responder speeding down a street.

Watch out for these dangerous symptoms. | iStock.com

Nephritic and nephrotic syndrome killed 11 Montana residents according to the CDC report. Both syndromes affect the kidneys. Nephritic syndrome symptoms are consistent with hematuria, or blood in the urine, hypertension, and blurred vision.

Nephrotic syndrome is signified by excess fluid in the body due to the serum hypoalbuminemia. Symptoms include puffiness around the eyes, pitting edema over the legs, and generalized edema throughout the body.

Next: The other states with compromised kidneys.

Illinois: Other kidney disorders

Three doctors in the middle of an operation.

Kidney disorders take too many lives. | iStock.com

Twelve people died in the state of Illinois as a result of other kidney disorders. While the study doesn’t specify what these other disorders are, the Illinois Department of Public Health found that kidney disorders were one of the top 10 killers of men in the state. The two most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the IDPH site.

Next: This benign condition can actually kill you.

California: Hyperplasia of prostate

A bright red Emergency room entrance.

Benign conditions can affect a patient’s life. | iStock.com

Hyperplasia of the prostate, or benign prostate hyperplasia killed 937 California males over the course of the last decade. The condition indicates a larger than normal prostate in males.

So how does a benign condition kill? The CDC article’s author, Dustin Dennison, answers this and other questions about BPH. According to Dennison, BPH behaves like benign brain tumors … the condition itself is benign, but can become lethal once the growth reaches a point that it begins to impede the function of nearby tissues or organs.

Next: The disease killing New York and Connecticut women.

New York and Connecticut: Pelvic inflammatory disease

Doctor showing xray to a patient.

A condition that affects many women. | Johnkellerman/iStock/Getty Images

PID is an infection of a women’s reproductive organs — including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix. It’s usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea. It can be treated by antibiotics. Ninety-seven New York women and 19 Connecticut women died from extreme and untreated PID over the past decade.

Next: This state is subjected to mysterious lab findings.

Georgia: Abnormal laboratory findings

A senior woman laying in a bed.

An incorrect diagnosis could be fatal. | Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

The CDC classified the unique cause of death in Georgia as, “symptoms, signs, and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings (not elsewhere classified).” This is a coding of multiple diseases, signs, and findings outlined by the ICD. The conditions and signs and symptoms include cases for which no more specific diagnosis can be made even after all the facts have been investigated, as well as provisional diagnoses in a patient who failed to return for further care.

This collection of various diseases and symptoms is the most common fatality in Georgia and was responsible for 18,434 deaths.

Next: Be careful getting on a boat or plane in these states.

Idaho and Alaska: Water, air and space, and other unspecified transport accidents

A boat or cruise floating alongside a blue sea.

Boating and airplane accidents are scary to think about. | iStock.com

Nearly 500 people died in Idaho and Alaska from transport accidents and their resulting conditions. These included aviation and boating accidents. A recent plane crash in Alaska that killed two pilots and one passenger added to the death toll. The state also saw a spike in traffic-related fatalities in 2016. Driving behavior was a factor in 75% of the crashes according to the Department of Transportation.

Next: Hundreds of people die as a result of this cause.

Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon: Legal intervention

Police writing a speeding ticket.

Police interventions can lead to deaths. | iStock.com

Death by legal intervention, or death at the hands of law enforcement, affected nearly 200 people in Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon. While the study’s results are based on statistics from 2000 to 2010, death by legal intervention is still a prevalent and highly publicized occurrence. It isn’t mandatory to report these incidents to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports database, although some state jurisdictions do. This could affect the statistics on how many people actually died by legal intervention.

Next: Grave accidents are killing people in these four states.

Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee: Discharge of firearms

A small gun lays over a metal surface.

Accidental shooting contribute to many deaths each year. | David McNew/Getty Images

Arizona and Arkansas had a large death toll as a result of unexplained gunshots. Two hundred and twenty people died among the two states from the discharge of firearms. These deaths were likely accidents at the hands of gun owners. The issue is still relevant today.

Healthgrove found that out of the 26 people who died as a result of it in 2015, the sex, race, and age group killed at the highest rate were white males ages 55-64. Alabama and Tennessee had the highest number of fatalities (684) from admitted accidental firearm discharges.

Next: The mysterious deaths of people in six states.

Utah, Indiana, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts: Unspecified events of undetermined intent and their sequelae

A side view of a hospital bed on wheels.

A ’cause of death’ isn’t always found. | iStock.com

This jumbled IDC coding refers to unknown causes of death. It was the largest killer in Utah, Indiana, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, leaving almost 13,000 people dead. These events may include poisoning from drug abuse, smoke exposure, or death by falling. This covers events where available information is insufficient to enable a medical or legal authority to make a distinction between accident, self-harm, and assault.

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