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J Travel Med. 2008 Mar-Apr;15(2):95-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00185.x.

Fatalities in the Peace Corps: a retrospective study, 1984 to 2003.

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1
Department of Epidemiology, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To determine causes of death for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) between 1984 and 2003 and compare them with prior Volunteer death rates and with US death rates.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all PCV between 1984 and 2003 and compared them to published data for prior years and against US death rates.

RESULTS:

Of the 66 deaths in our study period, the major causes were unintentional injury, homicide, medical illness, and suicide. Comparisons to US mortality data controlled for age, marital status, and educational attainment found equal or lower death rates among Volunteers. When compared to previous study results from 1961 to 1983, the total number of deaths, as well as the death rate per Volunteer-year, decreased. Deaths from unintentional injury, suicide, and medical illness decreased in number and rate; only homicides increased in number during our study period, but this increase did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS:

PCV are exposed to unique risks, but these risks have become significantly less fatal over the past 20 years when compared to prior Peace Corps data and matched US population data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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