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Effects of Temperature on Mortality in Nairobi, Kenya
Egondi, T., Kyobutungi, C., Kovats, S., Muindi, K., Ettarh, R. and Rocklov, J. 2012. Time-series analysis of weather and mortality patterns in Nairobi's informal settlements. Global Health Action 5: 23-31.

The authors write that "many studies have established a link between weather (primarily temperature) and daily mortality in developed countries," but they say that "little is known about this relationship in urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa." And so it was that they thus set out to do something about it.

What was done
Egondi et al. employed mortality data that they obtained from the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) along with time-series models "to study the relationship between daily weather and mortality for a population of approximately 60,000 during the period 2003-2008."

What was learned
"Overall," in the words of the six scientists, "there are seasonal fluctuations in mortality, with the highest rates of death occurring during periods of relative cold." And they say that "mortality risk over the year rises from the lowest mortality risk by about 40% in the 0-4 age group and by about 20% for all ages" in response to a drop in temperature. What is more, they note that "the effects of low temperatures on mortality can last for days." And they add that "although the world will get warmer in the future, the low temperature-related mortality is likely to remain an important concern."

What it means
Even in places that are appreciated for their relative warmth, a change in the weather or shifting of the seasons to cooler conditions, rather than an equivalent increase in warmth, is typically the more deadly of the two types of temperature evolution.

Reviewed 1 May 2013