Reliable, relevant, and timely data guide public health policies that protect and promote health.
To better define infectious diseases of concern in Thailand, trends in the mortality rate during 1958–2009 were analyzed by using data from public health statistics reports. From 1958 to the mid-1990s, the rate of infectious disease–associated deaths declined 5-fold (from 163.4 deaths/100,000 population in 1958 to 29.5/100,000 in 1997). This average annual reduction of 3.2 deaths/100,000 population was largely attributed to declines in deaths related to malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal infections. However, during 1998–2003, the mortality rate increased (peak of 70.0 deaths/100,000 population in 2003), coinciding with increases in mortality rate from AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. During 2004–2009, the rate declined to 41.0 deaths/100,000 population, coinciding with a decrease in AIDS-related deaths. The emergence of AIDS and the increase in tuberculosis- and pneumonia-related deaths in the late twentieth century emphasize the need to direct resources and efforts to the control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.