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Notice to Readers: Release of Atlas Highlighting Burden of Stroke Death

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Each year, approximately 700,000 U.S. residents experience a new or recurrent stroke; an estimated 500,000 residents will have their first stroke (1). In 1999, a total of 167,000 deaths from stroke occurred; of these, approximately half occurred out of hospital (2). A new CDC report, The Atlas of Stroke Mortality: Racial, Ethnic, and Geographic Disparities in the United States (3) provides, for the first time, an extensive series of national and state maps that show local disparities in stroke death rates for the five largest racial/ethnic groups in the United States. The maps provide health-care professionals and concerned persons with county-level maps of stroke mortality that are essential for tailoring stroke-prevention policies and programs to the needs of communities.

High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation are important risk factors for stroke that can be prevented and controlled in reducing stroke-related deaths and disability. CDC funds health departments in 29 states and the District of Columbia to develop effective strategies for reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases (e.g., heart disease and stroke) with an emphasis on policy and systems changes. Through these state-based programs, CDC aims to eliminate disparities in treatment, risk factors, and disease; delay the onset of disease; postpone death from cardiovascular disease; and diminish disabling conditions.

Additional information is available at Detailed maps of stroke and heart disease mortality at state and county levels are available at Additional information about stroke also is available from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at, the American Stroke Association Division of the American Heart Association at, the Brain Attack Coalition at, and the National Stroke Association at


  1. American Heart Association. Heart and Stroke Statistics---2003 Update. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association, 2003. Available at
  2. CDC. State-specific mortality from stroke and distribution of place of death---United States, 1999. MMWR 2002;51:429--33.
  3. Casper ML, Barnett E, Williams I, Halverson J, Braham V, Greenlund K. The Atlas of Stroke Mortality: Racial, Ethnic, and Geographic Disparities in the United States, 1st ed. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, February 2003.

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