Background Injury and death from natural disasters are recognised as direct health consequences of climate change. The frequency of natural disasters (including extreme weather events) has increased over the last few decades, and this trend is expected to continue. The purpose of this systematic review is to estimate global population level morbidity and mortality for injuries arising from natural disasters, to gain a clear understanding of the progression and duration of these injuries. This systematic literature review is being undertaken for the GBD2005 Injury Expert Group.
Methods Studies published in any language cited in MEDLINE; EMBASE or PsychINFO between January 1980 and December 2007 were obtained for review. Population-level studies describing incidence or prevalence of fatal or non-fatal injuries that occur as a result of natural disasters in predetermined GBD regions or counties within a region, as well as studies that describe the duration and sequelae of injures among survivors of these events, were retained for analyses. Data were extracted using a standardised abstraction procedure.
Results and Discussion This systematic review is well underway at the time of abstract submission. The initial search strategy yielded 2835 papers, of which 327 were retained for checking against the review criteria after reading the title and/or abstract. Data on the incidence of fatal and non-fatal injuries that occur as a consequence of natural disasters will be presented and compared at the conference. As the frequency of climate change-related natural disasters increases, these data will be crucial to help inform disaster preparedness. It may not be possible to prevent such events, but harm can be minimised by understanding the injury pattern and profile of persons fatally and non-fatally injured due to these events.
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