Fukushima: Immune-destroying radiation sickeness spreads

Once a malicious “baseless rumour” on the net, now it is written up in a regional newspaper with readership in Tokyo and Kanto area.

Tokyo Shinbun has reported that many children in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, 50 kilometers from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, are suffering inexplicable nosebleed, diarrhea, and lack of energy since the nuke plant accident.

A 39-year-old mother of two told the doctor that her 6-year-old daughter had nosebleed everyday for 3 weeks in April. For 1 week, the daughter bled copiously from both nostrils. The mother said their doctor told her it was just a seasonal allergy from pollen. Her other child, 2-year-old son, had nosebleed from end of April to May.

The pediatrician from The Bridge to Chernobyl, Yurika Hashimoto, told the mother it was hard to determine whether the nosebleed was the result of radiation exposure, but they should have the blood test done for white blood cells. It was important to keep record, the doctor advised.

Ionizing radiation has a deleterious effect on the immunity mechanism, particularly when large but sublethal doses are applied over a short period of time.

The hematopoietic system is extremely sensitive, and a fall in the lymphocytes is one of the most characteristic manifestations.

The normal balance of the microflora of the intestinal and respiratory tracts is disturbed, which results in a bacteremia and may lead to death of the host.

Active immunity is seriously interfered with if the irradiation occurs shortly before the injection of an antigen.

There is also reduced resistance to pathogenic micro-organisms, which may lead to fatal infections. Prolonged irradiation at low levels does not seem to affect immunity adversely. Active immunization should be carried out well in advance of exposure to radiation, and supportive treatment commenced immediately after exposure to large doses.

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