More than 600 Missouri babies born in 2007 will never celebrate their first birthday. Deaths of infants less than a year old are on the rise, according to new numbers released from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. Infant deaths for whites declined slightly last year, but deaths of minority infants increased.
"We’re very aware of the discrepancy, the racial discrepancy," said Team Leader Craig Ward with the state health department. "We recognize that there are many factors that come to play here and it is a big concern for the department and for the state."
The top three causes for infant death are conditions arising two months before to two months after birth, birth defects and unintentional injuries.
"It’s a complicated field," Ward said. "There’s not a simple answer to that and I think if there as a simple answer we’d be doing a better job at resolving that discrepancy and doing something about it."
The department is working with the Centers for Disease Control to do more studies on what’s behind the gap.