Extreme weather and climate events and public health responses. WHO 2004.

Report on a World Health Organization meeting Bratislava, Slovakia 09–10 February 2004

Heat-waves were associated with an increase in all causes of death, not just heat stroke. In France, an excess of mortality was observed for all causes of deaths. The highest increases were observed for causes directly linked to the heat-wave, such as Hyperthermia and dehydration (28.9% of the 2003 heat-wave total mortality was attributable to the heat-wave). Mortality due to respiratory diseases and genitourinary diseases also showed a significant increase.

However, a bias exists in the description of the causes of deaths, as some cardiovascular diseases have been reported as respiratory diseases (pulmonary oedema) and some hyperthermia have been reported as infections.

Concerning long-term measures, it was felt that public health authorities should encourage and support improvements in building design and city plans to diminish the build-up of heat.

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