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Int J Public Health. 2010 Apr;55(2):133-7. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-0060-8. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

A simple method for estimating excess mortality due to heat waves, as applied to the 2006 California heat wave.

Author information

  • 1Environmental Health Investigations Branch, California Department of Public Health, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Building P, 3rd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804, USA. sumi.hoshiko@cdph.ca.gov



To characterize excess mortality during a major heat wave in California and its regions; to assess the validity of a simple method.


We calculated mortality rate ratios for the heat-wave period, using a reference period of the same number of days from the same summer. We conducted alternative analyses and compared our results with those from a time-series model.


We estimated 655 excess deaths, a 6% increase (95% confidence interval, 3-9%), impacting varied geographic/climate regions. Alternate analyses supported model validity.


California experienced excess heat-wave related mortality not restricted to high heat regions. As climate change is anticipated to increase heat events, public health efforts to monitor effects assume greater importance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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