No. of confirmed new thyroid cases among Fukushima kids up 1 to 16

16 February 2016

The number of children in Fukushima Prefecture newly confirmed to have thyroid cancer reached 16 as of Dec. 31 last year, showing an increase of one case from 15 as of Sept. 30 announced previously, according to the latest data. The figures were compiled in the second round of checkups on the thyroid among children launched in April 2014 following the first round in the wake of the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Given other thyroid cancer cases found in the first or preliminary round, the total number of confirmed cases of the disease among Fukushima children stands at 116. These and other results were unveiled on Feb. 15 by the prefectural government and Fukushima Medical University during a meeting of a committee probing the health conditions of people in the northeastern Japanese prefecture. But Hokuto Hoshi, deputy head of the Fukushima Medical Association who chairs the committee, reiterated that radiation exposure from the nuclear disaster is “unlikely to have caused any direct effect” on the local incidence of thyroid cancer to date.

The full-fledged second-round survey also found 35 children are suspected of having thyroid cancer, up 11 from 24 as previously announced. The number of both suspected and confirmed cases thus comes to 51. Of the total, males were 21 and females 30, all aged between 6 and 18 at the time of the accident. Estimated doses of radiation exposure were available for 29 children, and the maximum dosage was 2.1 millisieverts while 10 of them had less than 1 millisievert each.

According to the results of a fiscal 2014 survey on expectant and nursing mothers in the prefecture, the rate of babies born with congenital anomalies was 2.3%, less than the 3%-5% range considered a natural proportion under diagnostic guidelines issued by medical groups, including the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The survey covered 15,125 mothers who obtained maternity passbooks in a year from August 2013 and who gave birth within the prefecture. Of 7,132 respondents, 6,979 mothers with single pregnancy were asked about congenital abnormalities.

(Translated by Kyodo News)