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Surveillance of Summer Mortality and Preparedness to Reduce the Health Impact of Heat Waves in Italy
Lazio Region Department of Epidemiology, Via di Santa Costanza, 53-00198 Rome, Italy
Department of Civil Protection, Via Ulpiano, 11-00193 Rome, Italy
Ministry of Health, Lungotevere Ripa, 1-00153 Rome, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 April 2010; in revised form: 21 April 2010 / Accepted: 29 April 2010 / Published: 6 May 2010
Abstract: Since 2004, the Italian Department for Civil Protection and the Ministry of Health have implemented a national program for the prevention of heat-health effects during summer, which to-date includes 34 major cities and 93% of the residents aged 65 years and over. The Italian program represents an important example of an integrated approach to prevent the impact of heat on health, comprising Heat Health Watch Warning Systems, a mortality surveillance system and prevention activities targeted to susceptible subgroups. City-specific warning systems are based on the relationship between temperature and mortality and serve as basis for the modulation of prevention measures. Local prevention activities, based on the guidelines defined by the Ministry of Health, are constructed around the infrastructures and services available. A key component of the prevention program is the identification of susceptible individuals and the active surveillance by General Practitioners, medical personnel and social workers. The mortality surveillance system enables the timely estimation of the impact of heat, and heat waves, on mortality during summer as well as to the evaluation of warning systems and prevention programs. Considering future predictions of climate change, the implementation of effective prevention programs, targeted to high risk subjects, become a priority in the public health agenda.
Keywords: heat prevention plan; heat waves; mortality; HHWWS
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Michelozzi, P.; De’ Donato, F.K.; Bargagli, A.M.; D’Ippoliti, D.; De Sario, M.; Marino, C.; Schifano, P.; Cappai, G.; Leone, M.; Kirchmayer, U.; Ventura, M.; Di Gennaro, M.; Leonardi, M.; Oleari, F.; De Martino, A.; Perucci, C.A. Surveillance of Summer Mortality and Preparedness to Reduce the Health Impact of Heat Waves in Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 2256-2273.
Michelozzi P, De’ Donato FK, Bargagli AM, D’Ippoliti D, De Sario M, Marino C, Schifano P, Cappai G, Leone M, Kirchmayer U, Ventura M, Di Gennaro M, Leonardi M, Oleari F, De Martino A, Perucci CA. Surveillance of Summer Mortality and Preparedness to Reduce the Health Impact of Heat Waves in Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2010; 7(5):2256-2273.
Michelozzi, Paola; De’ Donato, Francesca K.; Bargagli, Anna Maria; D’Ippoliti, Daniela; De Sario, Manuela; Marino, Claudia; Schifano, Patrizia; Cappai, Giovanna; Leone, Michela; Kirchmayer, Ursula; Ventura, Martina; Di Gennaro, Marta; Leonardi, Marco; Oleari, Fabrizio; De Martino, Annamaria; Perucci, Carlo A. 2010. "Surveillance of Summer Mortality and Preparedness to Reduce the Health Impact of Heat Waves in Italy." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 5: 2256-2273.