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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 7;10(4):e0122631. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122631. eCollection 2015.

Change in and long-term investigation of neuro-otologic disorders in disaster-stricken Fukushima prefecture: retrospective cohort study before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Author information

1
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Soma General Hospital, Soma, Fukushima, Japan; Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
2
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
3
Department of Disaster Public Health, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan; Department of Molecular Epidemiology, Environment and Genome Research Center, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan; Division of Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
4
Division of Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.

Abstract

On March 11, 2011, Japan's northeast Pacific coast was hit by a gigantic earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture is situated approximately 44 km north of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Soma General Hospital is the only hospital in Soma City that provides full-time otolaryngological medical care. We investigated the changes in new patients from one year before to three years after the disaster. We investigated 18,167 new patients treated at our department during the four years from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2014. Of the new patients, we categorized the diagnoses into Meniere's disease, acute low-tone sensorineural hearing loss, vertigo, sudden deafness, tinnitus, and facial palsy as neuro-otologic symptoms. We also investigated the changes in the numbers of patients whom we examined at that time concerning other otolaryngological disorders, including epistaxis, infectious diseases of the laryngopharynx, and allergic rhinitis. The total number of new patients did not change remarkably on a year-to-year basis. Conversely, cases of vertigo, Meniere's disease, and acute low-tone sensorineural hearing loss increased in number immediately after the disaster, reaching a plateau in the second year and slightly decreasing in the third year. Specifically, 4.8% of patients suffering from these neuro-otologic diseases had complications from depression and other mental diseases. With regard to new patients in our department, there was no apparent increase in the number of patients suffering from diseases other than neuro-otologic diseases, including epistaxis, and allergic rhinitis. Patients suffering from vertigo and/or dizziness increased during the first few years after the disaster. These results are attributed to the continuing stress and tension of the inhabitants. This investigation of those living in the disaster area highlights the need for long-term support.

PMID:
25849607
PMCID:
PMC4388657
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0122631
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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