FRCSR collects, through the Internet, reports of physical changes people have been experiencing since the Fukushima nuclear accident after March 11, 2011. The extent of radiation contamination is extremely serious, and we receive many inquiries from overseas. We will extract important points from applicable news articles, translate it into English. Our intention is to share with you the recognition and understanding of the reality of radiation contamination in real time as much as possible.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spread of Influenza: This February there was an extremely fast spread of Influenza in the northern parts of Japan such as the Tohoku region, mostly Fukushima, and the Kanto region, mainly Tokyo.  There was an unusual decrease in immunity and resistance of the Japanese residents as a whole.  Currently, influenza is spreading at an accelerated pace in the southern parts of Japan.

According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the current influenza outbreak is different from the previous outbreaks in the proportion of age groups in reported cases: 18.1% over age 60, 15.3% in ages 30-39, 12.3% in ages 20-29, and 12.2% in ages 5-9.  The fact the over 60 group has the most number of patients and the adults over age 20 make up over 60% of the cases is widely different from the age distribution of the usual, seasonal influenza.

Rubella outbreak: According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the total number of rubella cases reported from all over the nation from the beginning of the year to July 22 is 776.  This is three times as many as the reported cases from the previous year for the same time period.  Of all prefectures, Tokyo had the most cases at 167, followed by 166 in Hyogo Prefecture and 160 in Osaka Prefecture, which means the outbreak is mostly in cities.  About 80% of the cases are males ages 20 to 40.

Personal reports to FRCSR:

Someone I consider as my second mother had bloody stool for about a week at the end of last month.  She had a detailed examination at a national hospital, but they couldn’t find anything.  Bloody stool subsided naturally.  She was told she was “bleeding from places where the intestinal wall was thinned.”  I was relieved they did not find signs of cancer in her.  She lives in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture.  It’s a little over 100 km from Fukushima nuclear power plant and a little under 4 km from Tokai Daini nuclear power plant.

My closest colleague and friend at work (a male in his mid 30’s) collapsed from a light case of stroke.  He collapsed last Friday and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance.  He was discharged home today.  I am frightened this happened so close to me, but I have nobody to share the feeling with.  Let me at least report it to you.  I can’t handle it on my own.  I am sorry about that.  I am afraid the situation might be progressing at a much faster speed than ever imagined.  His case was too light to show any lesions on CT or MRI, but the doctors admitted there was some brain dysfunction, judging from his incoherent speech and reactions during the ambulance ride.  He is a salesperson who never had anything like that before, so the change was drastic.  I was the one who called an ambulance, so this is a true story.  I have been planning to move out of Tokyo, and I think I will go ahead and do it as soon as possible.

I experienced this once last August in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture,  and another time in this May in Shinagawa-ward, Tokyo.  It wasn’t like I passed out but I was conscious.  The second time I felt like the scene around me was moving from side to side as if I was in water, while I was having tea with my friend at a cafe.  I told her I might pass out, but it stopped after a while.  Both times I was clearly conscious although I felt like my head was moving side to side.  I didn’t pass out.  I didn’t have palpitations during these episodes.  Doctors didn’t know what caused it.

I am a hospital pharmacist in charge of chemotherapy.  I have a question.  Are you getting reports of esophageal cancer?  We have a sudden increase in the cases at our institution.  I was just talking to a GI specialist since there is such an abnormal increase in esophageal cancer.  I think ENT cancers are also on the increase.  I haven’t seen too much in terms of blood disorders.  I asked the wholesaler in western part of Tama, Tokyo, but there is no unusual demand for blood disorder meds.  Is this the quiet before the storm?  The other thing that bothers me is that we have a hospital preparation for prevention of premature delivery called Ulinastatin (urinary trypsin inhibitor) vaginal suppositories, and there is a huge demand for them!  There seem to be a lot of cases of rash of unknown origin, high fever of unknown origin, and sore throat.  Polaramine (chlorpheniramine maleate), Restamine cream (diphenhydramine), and Calonal (acetaminophen) are prescribed a lot when I am on call.

I heard this from an acquaintance.  Their son and his wife who moved to Sendai, Miyagi, last December had a baby this April.  The baby has an abnormal heart and also has multiple deformities.  They lived in Hokkaido until last December.  Their older child isn’t doing well.  I recommended evacuation, but they weren’t sure if it was needed.

Shino Yasutomo
Executive Director

Translation by Dr. Yuri Hiranuma
Medical Information Director

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