Deaths from Major Infectious Disease
August 5, 2011
Today, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years, but in 1920 it was only 58 years. These drastic improvements are due to innovation in medicine and improvements to public health. In some estimates, cleaner water accounted for nearly half of the mortality reduction in American cities from 1900 to 1936 and produced health benefits for Americans twenty-three times higher than the costs of the investments. Reductions in mortality from infectious diseases were also brought about by the development and dissemination of vaccines and antibiotics, such as penicillin.