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Study: Germany saw thousands of heat-related deaths in 2018 to 2020
Heidelberg is a town on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany. It’s known for venerable Heidelberg University, founded in the 14th century (File photo: Pixabay)

A new study released on Friday (July 1) showed that high summer temperatures in Germany caused thousands of heat-related deaths in 2018 to 2020.

It marks the first time a significantly high excess mortality from heat was recorded in three consecutive years since such studies began in 1992, researchers from the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's environment agency UBA, and the German Weather Service (DWD) wrote in the report published in the medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt.

High temperatures can burden the cardiovascular system and exacerbate existing ailments such as respiratory diseases, the Anews reported, citing the DPA.

Since heat is rarely recognized as a direct cause of death, the study authors used statistical methods for their analysis.

2018 marked the second warmest summer in Germany since records began, with an unusually long period of heat and strikingly high weekly mean temperatures.

A heatwave is an extended period of hot weather relative to the expected conditions of the area at that time of year, which may be accompanied by high humidity - Pic. Pixabay


Around 8,700 estimated heat-related deaths were recorded in 2018, which researchers noted was of a similar magnitude to the historical hot years of 1994 and 2003, when around 10,000 deaths in each year linked to heat were recorded.

In 2019, researchers estimate 6,900 heat-related daths, compared to 3,700 in 2020. In 2021 there was no significantly high mortality from heat-related causes.

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The study notes that the impact of high temperatures on mortality in Germany has declined slightly overall since 1992.

This indicates some successful adaptation to heat such as behavioural changes of drinking adequate fluids, seeking shaded areas or indoor cooler rooms and wearing airy clothing.

Even so, the authors said, the 2018 to 2020 data shows that heat events continue to be a serious threat to health in Germany.

Source: anews