Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
The project explores relationships between health and climate by analysing 20 years of admissions data from major hospitals in northern and central Australia, and relates those findings to climate data. This analysis identifies whether there is any relationship between the climate and the rates of various diseases amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In particular, we are looking at whether there has been any observed differences in hospital admissions for a range of diseases that the literature suggests are affected by climatic conditions, such as extreme heat or humidity. These diseases include heart disease, renal failure and influenza. We compare differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of hospital admissions for a range of causes during days of extreme heat and/or humidity, and for the period following such extremes. Sub-groups within the population are also compared (e.g. sex and age categories) to determine which groups are potentially most vulnerable. The findings of this study identify groups that are likely to be at high risk of serious illness in the future under the expected higher temperatures and humidity caused by climate change. Identifying at-risk groups based on past hospital data is particularly important given CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology research that shows an observed trend of higher temperatures across Australia, as well as climate projections of more frequent and extreme hot and humid days in many parts of the country.
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