Death toll exceeded 70,000 in Europe during the summer of 2003
Daily numbers of deaths at a regional level were collected in 16 European countries. Summer mortality was analyzed for the reference period 1998-2002 and for 2003. More than 70,000 additional deaths occurred in Europe during the summer 2003. Major distortions occurred in the age distribution of the deaths, but no harvesting effect was observed in the months following August 2003. Global warming constitutes a new health threat in an aged Europe that may be difficult to detect at the country level, depending on its size. Centralizing the count of daily deaths on an operational geographical scale constitutes a priority for Public Health in Europe.