Hot July weeks cause 500 extra deaths in the Netherlands

In the first three weeks of July 2006 500 more people died than is average for this period. Most of these extra deaths occurred in the week of 17- 23 July (week 29), when about 2.8 thousand people died, 300 more than is average for this week.

The high death rate was due to the high temperature during this week. The average maximum day temperature in week 29 according to the KNMI (the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) was 31.5 degrees Celsius.

The death rate was also higher than usual in the first week of July (week 27). Here 2.7 thousand people died, 200 more than the average for week 27. In the second week (week 28) the number of people died was about average.

Deaths per week and average maximum temperatures

Hot summer leads to more deaths

Earlier studies by Statistics Netherlands showed that high summer temperatures cause a higher death rate after an average three day delay. The greatest effect on the death rate comes on the day following a very hot day. After this, the death rate stays higher for several more days. The higher death rate is mainly linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Maarten Alders