Seasonal patterns of deaths in Matlab, Bangladesh

Stan Becker, Shigui Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background. Deaths exhibit a seasonal pattern in most parts of the world. Analyses of deaths for the years 1972-1974 from the vital registration system of Matlab, Bangladesh, published in this journal 17 years ago, showed sinusoidal seasonal patterns. As death rates have declined in other nations, the seasonal pattern is attenuated. Death rates have declined substantially in Bangladesh in the past two decades. Thus, the present study examines monthly counts of deaths from Matlab data for a period 15 years later and tests the hypothesis of a decrease or shift in seasonality over time. Methods. Trigonometric regression models were fit to monthly data by age and cause of death from the Matlab vital registration system for the years 1982-1990. A total of 20,328 death records were available for analyses. Results. In the recent period significant sinusoidal seasonal patterns are found in all but one of the age and cause of death groups. Total deaths peak in the winter as do neonatal deaths but post-neonatal and child deaths are maximum in April and July respectively. Among cause groups, injury deaths (mostly attributed to drowning) show the greatest seasonal swing. The time of peak has only shifted for one age group - neonates - since the 1972-1974 period. The magnitude of the seasonal swing has declined significantly only for the neonatal age group and injury cause of death group. Conclusion. Marked seasonal patterns of deaths persist in the Matlab area of Bangladesh even as the level of mortality has declined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-823
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Matlab Demographic Surveillance System
  • Mortality
  • Seasonal pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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