Conclusions

The summer of 2007 was the most extreme season ever recorded; three heat waves affected the country. During the first and third heat wave excess mortality was less than 5%. During the second event between July 16 and 24 the daily mean temperature was above 30°C for 5 days. The impact of high temperature on daily mortality could be stated; heat-related excess mortality was higher in hospitals than elsewhere. However, the rate of excess mortality was less than the impact of the heat wave of 2003 in France, although during the five hottest days the average excess death rate was 57%. Based on the association stated for the Central Hungarian Region, excess mortality cases could be assumed between 600 and 800 for the whole country.

• Using the estimates of the time series analysis of the data of 1970-2000, a lower excess mortality could be predicted over 30°C daily mean temperature, while under this temperature higher excess mortality was forecast compared to the rates detected in 2007.

• In order to compare the excess mortality of the previous years with that of the year 2007, some assumptions were set up; therefore the results must be handled with care. Similarly there is a lot of uncertainty concerning the extrapolation of the results for the whole country. Further evaluation of the validated mortality data is necessary to qualify the association.

• We could state that the measures applied so far during the heat alert can reduce the impact of heat wave with a mean temperature of 25-29°C, on the other hand, excess mortality significantly increased on extreme hot days. It is necessary to consider what measures can reduce excess mortality effectively and efficiently during extreme hot days.

• Real-time mortality data collection proved to be a good tool to monitor the impact of heat waves. In the future the legal basis and technical options of electronic collection of real-time mortality and other types of health data (like emergency ambulance calls) should be considered and elaborated.

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