Heat-related morbidity in Brisbane, Australia : spatial variation and area-level predictors

Hondula, David M. & Barnett, Adrian G. (2014) Heat-related morbidity in Brisbane, Australia : spatial variation and area-level predictors. Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(8), pp. 831-836.

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Background: Extreme heat is a leading weather-related cause of illness and death in many locations across the globe, including subtropical Australia. The possibility of increasingly frequent and severe heat waves warrants continued efforts to reduce this health burden, which could be accomplished by targeting intervention measures toward the most vulnerable communities.

Objectives: We sought to quantify spatial variability in heat-related morbidity in Brisbane, Australia, to highlight regions of the city with the greatest risk. We also aimed to find area-level social and environmental determinants of high risk within Brisbane.

Methods: We used a series of hierarchical Bayesian models to examine city-wide and intracity associations between temperature and morbidity using a 2007–2011 time series of geographically referenced hospital admissions data. The models accounted for long-term time trends, seasonality, and day of week and holiday effects.

Results: On average, a 10°C increase in daily maximum temperature during the summer was associated with a 7.2% increase in hospital admissions (95% CI: 4.7, 9.8%) on the following day. Positive statistically significant relationships between admissions and temperature were found for 16 of the city’s 158 areas; negative relationships were found for 5 areas. High-risk areas were associated with a lack of high income earners and higher population density.

Conclusions: Geographically targeted public health strategies for extreme heat may be effective in Brisbane, because morbidity risk was found to be spatially variable. Emergency responders, health officials, and city planners could focus on short- and long-term intervention measures that reach communities in the city with lower incomes and higher population densities, including reduction of urban heat island effects.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 75920
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: heat, temperature, spatial
DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1307496
ISSN: 0091-6765
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Statement: Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives
Deposited On: 03 Sep 2014 22:40
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2014 22:28

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