PRETORIA– Tuberculosis remains the leading underlying natural cause of death in 2015, accounting for 7.2 per cent of deaths, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

Stats SA reported here Tuesday that the total number of people who died in 2015 was 460,236 and that once again, TB was the leading underlying natural cause of death in 2015, followed by diabetes mellitus with 5.4 per cent of deaths.

Releasing its Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa 2015 Report, Stats SA said while TB had maintained its position as the number one leading underlying natural cause of death, proportions over time had been declining.

Meanwhile, proportions for diabetes mellitus, hypertensive diseases, other viral diseases and chronic lower respiratory diseases had been increasing, noted the report, which is based on data collected by the Department of Home Affairs through the death registration system.

The highest number of deaths in 2015 were among those aged 60-64, while the lowest number observed among those aged five to nine and 10 to 14 years.

According to the report, there were more male deaths than female deaths in 2015 from infancy until the age 65-69 group, after which there were more female than male deaths.

More than half (55.5 per cent) of deaths were attributed to the group of non-communicable diseases (also known as chronic diseases, which are not passed from person to person).

Communicable diseases (an infectious disease transmissible) accounted for 33.4 per cent of deaths, while injuries were responsible for 11.1 per cent of deaths.

“The trend has been the same since 2009, whereby more deaths were due to non-communicable diseases than the other two groups. As can be expected, deaths due to non-natural causes were highest amongst the youth, with young males being the highest victims,” the report said.