TUESDAY, Oct. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The risks for all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality are increased for up to 60 days after exposure to flood, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in The BMJ.
Zhengyu Yang, M.P.H., M.B.B.S., from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues examined lag-response associations and effect modifications of exposure to floods with the risks for all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality in a time series study involving 761 communities in 35 countries or territories with at least one flood event. The analyses included 47.6 million all-cause deaths, 11.1 million cardiovascular deaths, and 4.9 million respiratory deaths.
The researchers found that mortality risks increased and persisted for up to 60 days (50 days for cardiovascular mortality) after a flooded day over the 761 communities. For all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality, the cumulative relative risks were 1.021 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.006 to 1.036), 1.026 (95 percent CI, 1.005 to 1.047), and 1.049 (95 percent CI, 1.008 to 1.092), respectively, with variation seen in these associations across countries or territories and regions. Climate type seemed to modify the flood-mortality associations; in addition, in low-income countries and in populations with a low human development index or high proportion of older people, the associations were stronger. Up to 0.10, 0.18, and 0.41 percent of all-cause deaths, cardiovascular deaths, and respiratory deaths, respectively, were attributed to floods in communities impacted by flood.
“Policy makers and health professionals should raise awareness of the increased mortality risk after floods to improve disaster response strategies and thereby reduce the number of avoidable deaths,” the authors write.
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