International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 765–772 | Cite as

The impact of excess heat events in Maricopa County, Arizona: 2000–2005

  • Fuyuen Y. Yip
  • W. Dana Flanders
  • Amy Wolkin
  • David Engelthaler
  • William Humble
  • Antonio Neri
  • Lauren Lewis
  • Lorraine Backer
  • Carol Rubin
Original Paper


Exposure to excess heat is preventable yet it is the primary weather-related cause of mortality in the United States. In the Southwest United States, high temperatures are common and indoor environments often have cooling devices. In summer 2005, Maricopa County, Arizona experienced a 182% increase in reported heat-related deaths in comparison to 2000–2004. We examined at-risk populations and excess mortality. We characterized heat-related deaths using descriptive and multivariate time-series analyses of county vital record data from June–September 2000–2005. Dose-response relationships for heat-related mortality and heat index were evaluated using linear and quadratic splines. From June–September, 2000–2005, 136 heat-related deaths (0.68 per 100,000) were reported; 49 (36%) occurred in 2005. In July 2005, a 14-day heat wave resulted in 28 (57%) reported deaths—a 102% increase in comparison to the same time period in 2000–2004. Decedent demographics in 2005 did not differ from previous years. The mean age of all 136 deaths was 56 years (range: 7–92 years). Of those with discernable reported injury locations, 62 (66%) were identified outdoors. Forty-eight (77%) decedents identified outdoors were <65 years; conversely, 26 (82%) decedents who were found indoors were ≥65 years. A 6% (95% CI: 1.00–1.13) increase in mortality risk was observed for each degree (F) increase in heat index. Excess heat impacted a younger population in Maricopa County and many deaths occurred outdoors. Consecutive days of heat exposure—even among a heat-acclimated population—can increase mortality risk. Public health response activities guided by locally obtained data will better target those at risk.


Heat wave Mortality Heat index Temperature Air pollution 



We would like to thank Christopher Mrela, Don Herrington, Timothy Flood, Tony Haffer, Mare Schumacher, Sarah Santana, and Ben Davis for all of their invaluable assistance on this project.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fuyuen Y. Yip
    • 1
    • 7
  • W. Dana Flanders
    • 2
  • Amy Wolkin
    • 1
  • David Engelthaler
    • 3
  • William Humble
    • 4
  • Antonio Neri
    • 5
  • Lauren Lewis
    • 1
  • Lorraine Backer
    • 1
  • Carol Rubin
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects (EHHE)National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)AtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.TGen North, The Translational Genomics Research InstituteFlagstaffUSA
  4. 4.Division of Public Health ServicesArizona Department of Health ServicesPhoenixUSA
  5. 5.Office of Workforce and Career Development (OWCD)/CDCAtlantaUSA
  6. 6.Office of the Director (OD), National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (NCZVED)AtlantaUSA
  7. 7.Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch (APRHB), EHHENCEH/CDCAtlantaUSA

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