Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August-1 September 2010: Climate Change and Environmental Health
The increased mortality linked to events of extreme high temperatures is recognized as one critical challenge to the public health sector. An ecological study was conducted to assess whether a significant association remains using heat index as the independent predictor.
Sample population was from 6 major cities in Taiwan. Daily mortality data from 1994 through 2008 were retrieved from the Taiwan Death Registry, Department of Health, Taiwan. Meteorological data, including daily ambient temperature and relative humidity, were requested from the Central Weather Bureau. The generalized additive models and Poisson regression analyses were applied to estimate temperature-mortality relationship using heat index metric.
The increasing percentiles of heat index appeared to be associated with mortality risk compared with 0-4th and presented a rising trend. Risk ratios of daily mortality for heat index above 95th percentile, more vulnerable to heat stress, were significantly elevated in City of Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, except for Keelung. These risks seemed to increase to a greater scale among the elderly, a phenomenon seen in all cities. Short-term effects were suggested by lag models (0–2 days).
In Taiwan, the city-specific magnitude of increase indicated heat index may provide a realistic prediction for mortality risk, especially for the elderly. Regional differences of vulnerability should be further examined.