Development of health risk-based metrics for defining a heatwave : a time series study in Brisbane, Australia

Tong, Shilu, Wang, Xiao Yu, FitzGerald, Gerard, McRae, David, Neville, Gerard, Tippett, Vivienne, Aitken, Peter, & Verrall, Ken (2014) Development of health risk-based metrics for defining a heatwave : a time series study in Brisbane, Australia. BMC Public Health, 14, p. 435.

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Background: This study attempted to develop health risk-based metrics for defining a heatwave in Brisbane, Australia.

Methods: Poisson generalised additive model was performed to assess the impact of heatwaves on mortality and emergency hospital admissions (EHAs) in Brisbane.

Results: In general, the higher the intensity and the longer the duration of a heatwave, the greater the health impacts. There was no apparent difference in EHAs risk during different periods of a warm season. However, there was a greater risk of mortality in the second half of a warm season than that in the first half. While elderly (>75 years)were particularly vulnerable to both the EHA and mortality effects of a heatwave, the risk for EHAs also significantly increased for two other age groups (0-64 years and 65-74 years) during severe heatwaves. Different patterns between cardiorespiratory mortality and EHAs were observed. Based on these findings, we propose the use of a teiered heat warning system based on the health risk of heatwave.

Conclusions: Health risk-based metrics are a useful tool for the development of local heatwave definitions. thsi tool may have significant implications for the assessment of heatwave-related health consequences and development of heatwave response plans and implementation strategies.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 81833
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Climate changes; Emergency hospital admissions; Heatwaves; Mean temperature; Mortality; Time series analysis
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-435
ISSN: 1471-2458
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
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 Owner: Copyright 2014 Tong et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 16 Feb 2015 23:29
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2015 10:06

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