Hurricane Sandy (New Jersey): Mortality Rates in the Following Month and Quarter

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe changes in mortality after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012.

Methods

We used electronic death records to describe changes in all-cause and cause-specific mortality overall, in persons aged 76 years or older, and by 3 Sandy impact levels for the month and quarter following Hurricane Sandy compared with the same periods in earlier years adjusted for trends.

Results

All-cause mortality increased 6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2%, 11%) for the month, 5%, 8%, and 12% by increasing Sandy impact level; and 7% (95% CI = 5%, 10%) for the quarter, 5%, 8%, and 15% by increasing Sandy impact level. In elderly persons, all-cause mortality rates increased 10% (95% CI = 5%, 15%) and 13% (95% CI = 10%, 16%) in the month and quarter, respectively. Deaths that were cardiovascular disease-related increased by 6% in both periods, noninfectious respiratory disease-related by 24% in the quarter, infection-related by 20% in the quarter, and unintentional injury-related by 23% in the month.

Conclusions

Mortality increased, heterogeneous by cause, for both periods after Hurricane Sandy, particularly in communities more severely affected and in the elderly, who may benefit from supportive services.

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