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Decontamination Work and the Long-term Increase in Hospital Visits for Hymenoptera Stings Following the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2017

Akihiko Ozaki*
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Takeru Yokota
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Shuhei Nomura
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Masaharu Tsubokura
Affiliation:
Department of SurgeryRadiation Protection, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Claire Leppold
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery Research, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Tetsuya Tanimoto
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Jyoban Hospital of Tokiwa Foundation, Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan
Toru Miura
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Kana Yamamoto
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery Obstetrics and Gynecology, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Toyoaki Sawano
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Manabu Tsukada
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Masahiro Kami
Affiliation:
Medical Governance Research Institute, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Yukio Kanazawa
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery Gastroenterology, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
Hiromichi Ohira
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
*Corresponding
Correspondence and reprint requests to Akihiko Ozaki, MD, Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, 2-54-6 Takamicho, Haramachi, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan (e-mail: ozakiakihiko@gmail.com).

Abstract

Objective

Animals, including arthropods, are one health threat that can be affected by disasters. This institution-based study aimed to assess trends in Hymenoptera stings following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Methods

We reviewed the medical records of patients with hymenopteran stings who visited Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, located 23 km from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, from March 2005 to March 2016. Patient and sting characteristics of post-disaster patients were examined, and the annual incidence of hospital visits for hymenopteran stings was compared with the pre-disaster baseline, calculating an incidence rate ratio (IRR) for each year.

Results

We identified 152 pre-disaster patients (2005-2011) and 222 post-disaster patients (2011-2016). In the post-disaster period, 160 males (72.1%) were identified, with a median age of 59 years (range: 2-89 years). A total of 45 patients (20.3%) were decontamination workers. Post-disaster increases were found in the IRR for hymenopteran stings, peaking first in 2011 (IRR: 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.9-4.2) and later in 2014 (IRR: 3.2; 95% CI: 2.4-4.3) and 2015 (IRR 3.3; 95% CI: 2.5-4.4).

Conclusions

Long-term increases were found in the IRR of hospital visits for hymenopteran stings in an institution affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Decontamination workers appear to have been particularly affected by this phenomenon. Better disaster field worker monitoring and education about potential environmental health hazards may help to identify and prevent worker exposure to insect stings and other vectors in these settings. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:545–551)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2017 

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