ATLANTA, July 29 (UPI) -- Fifty-five percent of all U.S. infant deaths in 2005 occurred to the 2 percent of infants born after fewer than 32 weeks of gestation, officials say.
Infant mortality rates for late preterm infants -- 34 to 36 weeks of gestation -- were three times those for term infants -- 37 to 41 weeks, the report by the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics showed.
The three leading causes of infant death -- congenital malformations, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome -- accounted for 44 percent all infant deaths. The percentage of infant deaths that were preterm-related increased from 34.6 percent in 2000 to 36.5 percent in 2005. The preterm-related infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black mothers was 3.4 times higher and the rate for Puerto Rican mothers was 87 percent higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white mothers.
The U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005, which is statistically unchanged from 6.78 in 2004. Infant mortality rates ranged from 4.89 deaths per 1,000 live births for Asian or Pacific Islander mothers to 13.63 for non-Hispanic black mothers. Among Hispanics, rates ranged from 4.42 for Cuban mothers to 8.30 for Puerto Rican mothers.