Health impact of the 2008 cold spell on mortality in subtropical China: The climate and health impact national assessment study (CHINAs)
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Background Many studies have investigated heat wave related mortality, but less attention has been given to the health effects of cold spells in the context of global warming. The 2008 cold spell in China provided a unique opportunity to estimate the effects of the 2008 cold spell on mortality in subtropical regions, spatial heterogeneity of the effects, stratification effect and added effects caused by sustained cold days. Methods Thirty-six study communities were selected from 15 provinces in subtropical China. Daily mortality and meteorological data were collected for each community from 2006 to 2010. A distributed lag linear non-linear model (DLNM) with a lag structure of up to 27 days was used to analyze the association between the 2008 cold spell and mortality. Multivariate meta-analyses were used to combine the cold effects across each community. Results The 2008 cold spell increased mortality by 43.8% (95% CI: 34.8%?~?53.4%) compared to non-cold spell days with the highest effects in southern and central China. The effects were more pronounced for respiratory mortality (RESP) than for cardiovascular (CVD) or cerebrovascular mortality (CBD), for females more than for males, and for the elderly aged =75 years old more than for younger people. Overall, 148,279 excess deaths were attributable to the 2008 cold spell. The cold effect was mainly from extreme low temperatures rather than sustained cold days during this 2008 cold spell. Conclusions The 2008 cold spell increased mortality in subtropical China, which was mainly attributable to the low temperature rather than the sustained duration of the cold spell. The cold effects were spatially heterogeneous and modified by individual-specific characteristics such as gender and age.
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Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified