The effects of the 1996–2012 summer heat events on human mortality in Slovakia

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Abstract

The impacts of summer heat events on the mortality of the Slovak population, both in total and for selected population sub-groups, are the foci of this study. This research is the first of its kind, focusing on a given population, and therefore one priority was to create a knowledge base for the issue and to basically evaluate existing conditions for the heat-mortality relationship in Slovakia. This article also aims to fill a void in current research on these issues in Europe. In addition to overall effects, we focused individually on the major historical heat events which occurred in the summers of 2007, 2010 and 2012. During the heat events, a non-negligible negative response in mortality was recorded and fatal effects were more pronounced during particularly strong heat events and periods which lasted for two or more days. In general, females and the elderly were the most sensitive groups in the population and mortality was characterized by several specific effects in individual population groups. The most extreme heat periods were commonly followed by a deficit in mortality, corresponding to a short-term mortality displacement, the pattern of which varied in specific cases. In general, displaced mortality appeared to compensate for a large part of heat-induced excess deaths.

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