Determining The Heat and Cold-Related Excess Morbidity in the Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario

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McCallum, Aidan
Heat , Cold , Excess Morbidity
The objective of this study is to quantify the excess morbidity related to extreme heat and cold events in Ontario’s healthcare system. The aim is to develop a greater understanding of how the “ENVIRO” syndrome and other ailments that are monitored for aberrational activity within Acute Care Enhanced Surveillance (ACES) are influenced by extreme heat and cold events. This may allow for conclusions to be drawn regarding the excess population morbidity related to these events in Ontario. The specific research questions that will be addressed in this study are as follows: 1) During a heat or cold event, which of the 15 syndromes monitored for aberrational activity are elevated in addition to the established “ENVIRO” syndrome? 2) To give a proxy of excess morbidity across all health outcomes during a heat or cold event, what is the difference between the overall Emergency Department (ED) visit volume during a heat or cold event and the non-event baseline visit volume? This study aims to determine the relationship between extreme heat and cold events and visits to the ED, ultimately contributing to preparatory methods for these events and a reduction in morbidity. By determining the excess morbidity related to extreme heat and cold events, a more holistic approach to preparation and prevention is feasible within the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. As the climate changes, these studies must be conducted to determine the excess morbidity that the healthcare system will face due to extreme weather events as they become more frequent and unpredictable. Syndromic surveillance systems can be developed and improved based on the scientific findings of this study, enabling a more prepared public health response (CEC, 2017).
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