, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 849-854

Mortality Spike at New Year but not Christmas in North East England

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Mortality in the USA has been shown to spike on Christmas and New Year’s Day. No comparable analyses are available for European data despite recognised seasonal mortality variations. Deaths for 1986–2000 were analysed by date for Newcastle and North Tyneside (NNT) to examine the Christmas period and the weeks surrounding Easter. A spike in mortality attributable to increases in cardiac and respiratory deaths was seen on New Year’s Day but not on Christmas Day. No disturbance of trend was seen at Easter. The causes of the ‘holiday phenomenon’ are not understood, but absence of a Christmas spike in NNT may indicate that it is preventable.