In the second half of July 2007 a record breaking heat wave arrived in Central-Eastern Europe. For Hungary it was the ever recorded longest and hottest heat wave concerning both daily maximum, minimum, and mean temperature. During the summer 2007 there was a milder heat wave between June 19 and 23, between July 16 and 24 an extremely intensive heat wave affected the country, and the last heat wave affecting only some parts of the country arrived to Hungary between August 23 and 26.
Hungary took part in the PHEWE (Phewe, 2002-2005) project funded by the EC FP6 framework program. The aim of PHEWE project was to study the association of temperature and mortality - in the frames of this project Hungary's task was to develop a heat health watch warning system under the guidance of the Chair of Climatology of the University of Birmingham. Since 2005 Hungary participated in the EuroHeat (Euroheat, 2005-2007) project funded by the Public Health Program of the EC. This project offered possibilities to further develop the heat alert system and to elaborate the recommendations for adaptation measures to help decrease the health impact of heat.
Heat wave was defined by evaluation of a time series of daily weather and mortality data of Budapest for 31 years (1970-2000). The three-level heat alert system is based on these estimates (Paldy et al., 2006). International literature data and the EuroHeat working group recommended collecting real time mortality data to monitor the impact of heat during heat waves. Based on the heat plan of Hungary (Bujdoso et al., 2006), the chief medical officer ordered for the Central Hungarian Institution of the National Public Health and Medical Officers' Service to collect real time mortality data from general practitioners and from hospitals in the Central Hungarian Region (CHR). Based on these data the impact of heat waves could be estimated for the summer period in 2007. The comparison of the mortality prediction based on the risk estimates of the time series analysis of 1970-2000
data with the mortality-temperature relationship of 2007 could help answer whether the excess mortality of the 2007 heat waves fell in the range projected by using the risk estimate of the temperature mortality association of the 31 years' time series.
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