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Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Dec;105 Suppl 6:1529-32.

Incidence of childhood disease in Belarus associated with the Chernobyl accident.

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Belarus Center for Medical Technologies, Minsk, Republic of Belarus.


Study of the childhood incidence of cancer and other diseases in Belarus is of great importance because of the present unfavorable environmental situation. About 20% of the children in the republic were exposed in various degrees to radiation as a result of the Chernobyl accident. Since 1987 increases in the incidence of most classes of disease have been reported, including the development of thyroid cancer. From 1987 to 1995, thyroid cancer was diagnosed in 424 children; its incidence having increased from 0.2 to 4.0/10(5) in 1995. According to preliminary data for 1996, 81 childhood cancer cases were reported. During 1995 there also were increases in the incidence of endocrine and dermatologic diseases and mental disorders. During the period 1987 to 1995 significant increases in the incidences of all illnesses were observed for children listed in the Chernobyl registry. The highest incidence rates were found in evacuated children and those residing in contaminated areas. There also were increased incidences of thyroid and digestive organ diseases among these children and in addition, high prevalence of chronic tonsillitis and adenoiditis was observed. Since 1990 an increase of autoimmune thyroiditis has been observed. The highest rates of hematopoietic tissue diseases were found in children born after the accident to irradiated parents.

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