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In U.S. Poll, Most Fail a Quiz on Global Causes of Child Deaths

© 2002 Virginia Lamprecht, US Coalition for Child Survival

What would you guess is the leading cause of child deaths?

Most Americans in a poll sponsored by the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival guessed AIDS or malaria.

Celia W. Dugger/NYT
42 percent of Americans guessed that AIDS killed the most children. But the disease is responsible for only 3 percent of the 9.7 million deaths a year of children younger than 5.

Eighteen percent of Americans thought malaria was the deadliest, but it killed 8 percent, or about 800,000 young children.

Full article...

Pneumonia, treatable with a 58-cent dose of antibiotic syrup, accounts for almost one out of every five deaths of children under age 5 each year. Diarrhea, treatable with 42 cents’ worth of oral rehydration salts, was the reason for 17 percent of young children’s deaths.

And more than a third of child deaths resulted from complications related to birth — a cluster of causes that includes tetanus (preventable with two 20-cent tetanus shots for the mother during pregnancy) and failure to breathe at birth (correctable with a simple mask and plastic bag device that can cost as little as $10).

Did any of you guess correctly on what caused the most deaths?

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In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at