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Over 61,000 excess deaths quantified in Europe due to heat in record summer 2022

Heat in the 2022 summer caused more than 61,000 excess heat-related deaths among the European population, according to a recent study published in Nature Medicine.

Last year’s summer (2022) was the hottest season on record in Europe, leading to more than 61,000 excess heat-related deaths among the European population (with upper and lower estimated ranging between about 37,600 and 86,800 deaths), according to a recent study published in Nature Medicine.

Countries in Southern Europe, including Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, suffered most, with heat-related mortality rates ranging between 295 and 211 deaths per million people. Only a small share of heat-related deaths result from heatstroke. More often, heat kills when the human body cannot cope anymore with pre-existing health problems like heart and lung diseases.

The excess mortality remains high relative to the more than 70,000 heat-related deaths in Europe during the summer of 2003, after which adaptation strategies were designed and implemented to protect at-risk populations. This urges for reevaluation and strengthening of existing heat surveillance platforms, prevention plans and long-term adaptation strategies, as well as for protection of vulnerable people.

Date: 28 Jul 2023