09 Jun Association between extreme cold weather temperatures and mortality in Greece
Background: Little is known about cold-related mortality in south Europe. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between extreme cold weather and mortality in Greece. Methods: Daily mortality data covering the period 1999-2012 were retrieved through the Hellenic Statistical Authority Archive. 24-hour mean temperature was collected from 16 weather stations spread throughout the country. Analyses were focused on days with extremely low temperatures (5th percentile) as well as on the following seven days. Results: The two leading death causes during extreme cold weather were diseases of the nervous system (36.5%) and diseases of the respiratory system (26.8%). The prevalence of deaths due the aforementioned causes was significantly increased on extreme cold weather (and following seven days) when compared to warm temperature days (temperatures ranging between 15-20 °C; p < 0.001). In addition, temperature during extreme cold weather was significantly associated with increased mortality; a decrease of 1 °C in mean temperature significantly increased mortality by 2.8% (p < 0.001). On the first and second day following extreme cold weather, mortality increased by 0.6% (p < 0.001) and 0.8% (p < 0.01), respectively. Conclusion: Extreme cold weather is associated with all-cause mortality and also with cause-specific mortality. During extreme cold days, the diseases of the nervous and respiratory systems rise the most in Greece.
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