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WHEN FEDERAL epidemiologists arrived in Chicago, Ill, late last month to investigate the city's massive heat-related death toll, Cook County Medical Examiner Edmund Donoghue, MD, made their work a bit easier.
He handed over a computer disk containing names, ages, addresses, and the cause of death of hundreds who succumbed during mid-July's record-high temperatures in a city better known for snowscapes and heart-stopping cold.
"Usually they just get a story about what happened. This will speed up their analysis," Donoghue said as investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga, sifted through the data.
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Chicago's heat wave and the CDC study will yield insight into heat-related mortality for some time to come. An initial report on demographics and descriptions of the deaths is in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. More in-depth reports will focus on identifying risk factors and preventing such
Voelker R. Probe of Heat Wave Deaths Under Way. JAMA. 1995;274(8):595-596. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530080011003