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Effects of extremely hot days on people older than 65 years in Seville (Spain) from 1986 to 1997

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The effects of heat waves on the population have been described by different authors and a consistent relationship between mortality and temperature has been found, especially in elderly subjects. The present paper studies this effect in Seville, a city in the south of Spain, known for its climate of mild winters and hot summers, when the temperature frequently exceeds 40 °C. This study focuses on the summer months (June to September) for the years from 1986 to 1997. The relationships between total daily mortality and different specific causes for persons older than 65 and 75 years, of each gender, were analysed. Maximum daily temperature and relative humidity at 7.00 a.m. were introduced as environmental variables. The possible confounding effect of different atmospheric pollutants, particularly ozone, were considered. The methodology employed was time series analysis using Box-Jenkins models with exogenous variables. On the basis of dispersion diagrams, we defined extremely hot days as those when the maximum daily temperature surpassed 41 °C. The ARIMA model clearly shows the relationship between temperature and mortality. Mortality for all causes increased up to 51% above the average in the group over 75 years for each degree Celsius beyond 41 °C. The effect is more noticeable for cardiovascular than for respiratory diseases, and more in women than in men. Among the atmospheric pollutants, a relation was found between mortality and concentrations of ozone, especially for men older than 75.

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Díaz, .J., García, .R., Velázquez de Castro, .F. et al. Effects of extremely hot days on people older than 65 years in Seville (Spain) from 1986 to 1997. Int J Biometeorol 46, 145–149 (2002).

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