Snow avalanche deaths in Switzerland from 1995 to 2014-Results of a nation-wide linkage study.

Berlin, Claudia; Techel, Frank; Moor, Beat Kaspar; Zwahlen, Marcel; Hasler, Rebecca Maria (2019). Snow avalanche deaths in Switzerland from 1995 to 2014-Results of a nation-wide linkage study. PLoS ONE, 14(12), e0225735. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0225735

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OBJECTIVES More than 20 people die each year in snow avalanches in Switzerland. Previous studies have primarily described these victims, but were not population based. We investigated sociodemographic factors for avalanche mortality between 1995 and 2014 in the entire Swiss resident population. DESIGN AND METHODS Within the Swiss National Cohort we ascertained avalanche deaths by anonymous data linkage with the avalanche accident database at the Swiss WSL Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. We calculated incidence rates, by dividing the number of deaths from avalanches by the number of person-years, and hazard ratios (HRs) for sociodemographic and economic characteristics using Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS The data linkage yielded 250 deaths from avalanche within the SNC population for the 20 years 1995 to 2014. The median distance between the place of residence and the place of the event (avalanche) was 61.1 km. Male gender, younger age (15-45 years), Swiss nationality, living in the Alpine regions, higher education, living in the highest socioeconomic quintile of neighbourhoods, being single, and living in a household with one or more children were associated with higher avalanche mortality rates. Furthermore, for younger persons (<40 years) the hazard of dying in an avalanche between 2005 and 2014 was significantly lower than in the years 1995 to 2004 (HR = 0.56, 95%-CI: 0.36-0.85). CONCLUSION Over a 20-year period in Switzerland, higher rates of dying in an avalanche were observed in men, in younger age groups, and persons with tertiary education, living in the highest socioeconomic quintile of neighbourhoods, and living in an Alpine region. For younger persons (<40 years), the hazard declined during the study period.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Berlin, Claudia; Zwahlen, Marcel and Hasler, Rebecca Maria

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

09 Dec 2019 15:01

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2019 15:37

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0225735

PubMed ID:

31794568

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.136382

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/136382

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