By Rebecca Blatt
Maryland's infant mortality rate has dropped to its lowest annual rate in 10 years, according to new data from the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
But the numbers aren't all moving in the right direction.
Preliminary statistics show the overall infant mortality rate decreased to 7.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009, down from 8 percent the year before. That's with significant death reductions in Frederick, Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.
But racial disparities remain. Infant mortality increased slightly among black families from 13.4 percent in 2008 to to 13.6 percent in 2009.
John Colmers, Secretary of Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, says the state will intensify efforts to reduce infant mortality, focusing especially on outreach in Baltimore city and Prince George's and Somerset counties.