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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 147;

Examining the Effects of Ambient Temperature on Pre-Term Birth in Central Australia

Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Ellengowan Dr., Casuarina, NT 0810, Australia
Menzies School of Health Research, Rocklands Drive, Casuarina, NT 0810, Australia
School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jan C. Semenza
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 23 January 2017 / Accepted: 30 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
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Preterm birth (born before 37 completed weeks of gestation) is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years of age. Several recent studies have examined the association between extreme temperature and preterm births, but there have been almost no such studies in arid Australia. In this paper, we explore the potential association between exposures to extreme temperatures during the last 3 weeks of pregnancy in a Central Australian town. An immediate effect of temperature exposure is observed with an increased relative risk of 1%–2% when the maximum temperature exceeded the 90th percentile of the summer season maximum temperature data. Delayed effects are also observed closer to 3 weeks before delivery when the relative risks tend to increase exponentially. Immediate risks to preterm birth are also observed for cold temperature exposures (0 to –6 °C), with an increased relative risk of up to 10%. In the future, Central Australia will face more hot days and less cold days due to climate change and hence the risks posed by extreme heat is of particular relevance to the community and health practitioners. View Full-Text
Keywords: indigenous; climate change; preterm birth; arid; desert; remote indigenous; climate change; preterm birth; arid; desert; remote

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Mathew, S.; Mathur, D.; Chang, A.B.; McDonald, E.; Singh, G.R.; Nur, D.; Gerritsen, R. Examining the Effects of Ambient Temperature on Pre-Term Birth in Central Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 147.

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