Heat wave caused mortality rate peak

The heat wave at the start of this month caused a peak in the mortality rate. The extremely high temperatures and high ozone concentrations between 30 June and 5 July resulted in 26% more people than expected dying. The higher than expected mortality rate applies to both men and women. Most of those that died as a result of the heat were already weaken as a result of advanced year or a chronic medical condition.

The peak in the mortality rate in Belgium was comparable to that in neighbouring countries such as France and the Netherlands.

The Scientific Institute for Public Health (SIPH) says that between 30 June and 5 July 410 more people than expected died due to the heat and high levels of ozone in the air. Of these 210 were men and 200 women.

The increase was most pronounced among those older than 85. 33% more people over 85 died between 30 June and 5 July than had been predicted.

This was 24% for those under 85. This is only the second time in a decade that the mortality rate has been more than 18% higher than what had been predicted.

As many of those that died during the heat wave were already weakened through illness or old age, the SIPH says that it can’t be ruled out that the peak will be compensated for by a fall in the mortality rate in the coming months.