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Mortality Related to Cold Temperatures in Two Capitals of the Baltics: Tallinn and Riga

1
Division of Sustainable Health, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2
Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
3
Physiotherapy and Environmental Health Department, Tartu Health Care College, Nooruse 5, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
4
Institute of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health, Riga Stradinš University, Dzirciema 16, LV-1007 Riga, Latvia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(8), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55080429
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
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Abstract

Background and objectives: Despite global warming, the climate in Northern Europe is generally cold, and the large number of deaths due to non-optimal temperatures is likely due to cold temperatures. The aim of the current study is to investigate the association between cold temperatures and all-cause mortality, as well as cause-specific mortality, in Tallinn and Riga in North-Eastern Europe. Materials and Methods: We used daily information on deaths from state death registries and minimum temperatures from November to March over the period 1997–2015 in Tallinn and 2009–2015 in Riga. The relationship between the daily minimum temperature and mortality was investigated using the Poisson regression, combined with a distributed lag non-linear model considering lag times of up to 21 days. Results: We found significantly higher all-cause mortality owing to cold temperatures both in Tallinn (Relative Risk (RR) = 1.28, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.01–1.62) and in Riga (RR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.11–1.79). In addition, significantly increased mortality due to cold temperatures was observed in the 75+ age group (RR = 1.64, 95% CI 1.17–2.31) and in cardiovascular mortality (RR = 1.83, 95% CI 1.31–2.55) in Tallinn and in the under 75 age group in Riga (RR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.12–2.22). In this study, we found no statistically significant relationship between mortality due to respiratory or external causes and cold days. The cold-related attributable fraction (AF) was 7.4% (95% CI -3.7–17.5) in Tallinn and 8.3% (95% CI -0.5–16.3) in Riga. This indicates that a relatively large proportion of deaths in cold periods can be related to cold in North-Eastern Europe, where winters are relatively harsh. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperature-related mortality; distributed lag non-linear models; cold-related attributable fraction; winter mortality; Baltics; all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality temperature-related mortality; distributed lag non-linear models; cold-related attributable fraction; winter mortality; Baltics; all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Åström, D.O.; Veber, T.; Martinsone, Ž.; Kaļužnaja, D.; Indermitte, E.; Oudin, A.; Orru, H. Mortality Related to Cold Temperatures in Two Capitals of the Baltics: Tallinn and Riga. Medicina 2019, 55, 429.

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