THURSDAY, July 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Counties with high or median versus low social vulnerability have an increased firearm injury emergency department visit rate, according to research published in the July 8 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Miriam E. Van Dyke, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed emergency department visit data for 647 counties in 10 CDC Firearm Injury Surveillance Through Emergency Rooms-funded jurisdictions to examine the rates of firearm injury emergency department visits by community social vulnerability. The 2018 Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) was used to obtain county-level social vulnerability data.

The researchers found that during 2018 to 2021, the firearm injury emergency department visit rate was 1.34 and 1.80 times as high in counties with median and high social vulnerability, respectively, compared with rates in counties with low overall social vulnerability. Patterns were similar for the SVI themes of socioeconomic status and housing type and transportation, but not for household composition and disability status or for racial and ethnic-minority status and language proficiency.

“SVI data can help focus prevention efforts on reducing and addressing the effects of the underlying drivers of inequities using strategies with the best available evidence, including creating protective community environments, strengthening economic supports, and intervening to reduce harms and prevent future risk,” the authors write.

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