Higher death rate due to heat wave

21st July 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2006, AMSTERDAM – Two hundred more people died than usual for a seven day period during the heat wave in the first week of July, Dutch statistics bureau CBS reported on Friday. The higher death rate was mostly due to illnesses of the air passages, as well as diseases of the heart and arteries.

21 July 2006

AMSTERDAM – Two hundred more people died than usual for a seven day period during the heat wave in the first week of July, Dutch statistics bureau CBS reported on Friday. The higher death rate was mostly due to illnesses of the air passages, as well as diseases of the heart and arteries.

Some 2,668 Dutch people died during that week, including 1,391 who were aged 80 or older, 798 who were older than 65 and 479 people who were younger than 65. The largest rise in the number of deaths occurred in the oldest group.

Figures for the second heat wave in July, which on Friday was still continuing, will only be available in two weeks, a spokesman for the CBS said after reports about the increase in the number of deaths in the country had appeared in Dutch daily De Volkskrant.

The first half of June also saw a peak in the number of deaths, the CBS said. In that period—a mini-heat wave that began on 9 June—some 2,667 people died. Tuesday 13 June was the warmest day of that period, but it was followed by a suddenly cooler period. The number of deaths usually begins to rise three days after the beginning of a warm period.

More people died than usual in the week beginning on 17 April, at 2,684 deaths even more than during the warm period that followed. That rise in the number of deaths was the result of persistent colds and flu, a spokesman for the CBS said. "Although there was no question of a flu epidemic during the winter,” he added.

The “ideal” average temperatures for a low death rate are between 16.5 and a maximum of 22 degrees Celsius, according to research by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

Earlier, research by the CBS had revealed that a rise of one degree in temperature leads to between 25 and 35 more deaths per week than average. A similar picture is seen in periods of cold, although the number of additional deaths is usually half of that for a one-degree rise in temperature.

Last year, about 300 more people died during the week of 20 to 26 June than usual for the beginning of the summer. The cause in that case was a long series of summer days with an average temperature of 27.6 degrees Celsius. The milder weather that followed resulted in a lower death rate than usual.

Between 1,000 and 1,400 more people died than usual during the hot summer of 2003. The death rate was highest during the heat wave in August, but the death rate was also higher than average at the beginning of June and during the second half of July in that year.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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