Validation of a temperature prediction model for heat deaths in undocumented border crossers

Tim Ruttan, Uwe Stolz, Sara Jackson-Vance, Bruce Parks, Samuel M. Keim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Heat exposure is a leading cause of death in undocumented border crossers along the Arizona-Mexico border. We performed a validation study of a weather prediction model that predicts the probability of heat related deaths among undocumented border crossers. We analyzed a medical examiner registry cohort of undocumented border crosser heat- related deaths from January 1, 2002 to August 31, 2009 and used logistic regression to model the probability of one or more heat deaths on a given day using daily high temperature (DHT) as the predictor. At a critical threshold DHT of 40 C, the probability of at least one heat death was 50 %. The probability of a heat death along the Arizona-Mexico border for suspected undocumented border crossers is strongly associated with ambient temperature. These results can be used in prevention and response efforts to assess the daily risk of deaths among undocumented border crossers in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-414
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Border crosser
  • Epidemiology
  • Heat stroke
  • Undocumented immigrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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