Helping North American Communities Adapt to Climate Change: A Pilot Syndromic Surveillance System for Extreme Heat Events
Operational Plan: 2015 - 2016
Every year in North America, extreme heat events result in thousands of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths, in addition to lost productivity. In the US, extreme heat is considered the primary weather-related cause of death, affecting an average of 700 people a year. In 2018, heat waves claimed the lives of 87 people in the Province of Quebec, Canada, and 95 people in the State of Baja California, Mexico. Responding to heat events in real time is key to preventing adverse health outcomes. In our three countries, many communities have surveillance and alert systems for extreme heat events, but they are not linked to information on health outcomes.
Because of the CEC:
- An increased number of public health agencies serving communities in North America now have the capacity to monitor health outcomes related to extreme heat events, and tools for identifying vulnerable populations and treating these health outcomes.
- The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has developed technology that uses historical and real-time data to predict probable final effects during extreme heat events.
- In the municipality of Juarez, Chihuahua, a real-time heat alert system compiles health reports and simultaneously collects data on heat-related illnesses from clinics to report on the severity of extreme heat-related health impacts.
- In Pinal County, Arizona, analyses of data on heat-related illnesses make it possible to identify vulnerable populations and improve emergency response during extreme heat events.