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Soz Praventivmed. 2006;51(4):194-201.

Syndromic surveillance use to detect the early effects of heat-waves: an analysis of NHS direct data in England.

Author information

1
Health Protection Agency Chemical Hazards & Poisons Division (Headquarters), Oxon, Great Britain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the effects of high ambient temperatures, including the summer 2003 heat-episode, on NHS Direct usage and its suitability as a surveillance tool in heat health warning systems.

METHODS:

Analyses of data on calls to NHS Direct in English Regions in the period Dec 2001-May 2004. Outcomes were daily rates of all symptomatic calls, and daily proportion of calls for selected causes (fever, vomiting, difficulty breathing, heat/sun-stroke)

RESULTS:

Total calls were moderately increased as environmental temperature increased; this effect was greatest in calls for young children and for fever. Total calls were moderately elevated during two summer heat episodes in 2003: calls specifically for heat/sun stroke increased acutely in response to these episodes. No association was apparent between environmental temperature and proportion of calls for vomiting and difficulty breathing.

CONCLUSIONS:

Calls to NHS Direct are sensitive to daily temperatures and extreme weather. NHS Direct is timely and has great potential in health surveillance. Calls for heat- and sun-stroke are now routinely monitored as part of the UK Heat-wave plan

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PMID:
17193781
DOI:
10.1007/s00038-006-5039-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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