Medical status of Marshallese accidentally exposed to 1954 Bravo fallout radiation: January 1988 through December 1991
Description: The purpose of this report is to disseminate information concerning the medical status of 253 Marshallese exposed to fallout radiation in 1954. This report discusses the medical care provided and the medical findings for the years 1988-1991. Details of the BRAVO thermonuclear accident that caused the exposure have been published, and a 1955 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association describing the acute medical effects in the exposed population remains a definitive and relevant description of events. Participation in the Marshall Islands Medical Program by the exposed Marshallese is voluntary. In the spring and fall of each year, medical surveillance is provided to exposed and unexposed cohorts. Examinations performed include: a cancer-related examination as defined by the American Society, an annual thyroid examination and thyroid function testing, serum prolactin testing looking for pituitary tumors, annual blood counts to include platelets, and evaluation for paraneoplastic evidence of neoplasms. This report details the medical program, medical findings, and thyroid surgery findings. Deaths (4 exposed and 10 nonexposed) that occurred during the reporting period are discussed. There is a mild but relatively consistent depression of neutrophil, lymphocyte, and platelet concentrations in the blood of the exposed population. This depression appears to be of no clinical significance. Thyroid hypofunction, either clinical or biochemical, has been documented as a consequence of radiation exposure in 14 exposed individuals. Previously, one other exposed person was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. During this reporting period, a thyroid nodule was identified in an individual who was in utero during the exposure. Upon pathologic review, the nodule was diagnosed as occult papillary carcinoma.
Date: July 1, 1995
Creator: Howard, J.E.; Heotis, P.M.; Scott, W.A. & Adams, W.H.
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