Japan Evacuees: Clinics Deny Care Over Contagion Fears

Worries are groundless—but unsurprising, says expert
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 2:47 PM CDT
Japan Nuclear Disaster: Evacuees Denied Care Amid Fears of Contagious Radioactivity
A mother and her son watch as evacuees are screened for radiation at a shelter, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, in Fukushima, Fukushima prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Fearing contagion from exposure to radioactivity, Japanese shelters and clinics are rejecting hundreds of evacuees from near the Fukushima nuclear plant, reports the Telegraph. The institutions are requiring certificates from evacuees that show they haven’t faced exposure. Such concerns, however, are “completely irrational,” says a British expert advising the Japanese government. “This is a knee-jerk reaction based on the fear that these people are going to harm you.”

Among those denied treatment was an 8-year-old girl suffering from a skin rash, her father tells the newspaper. “I’m not surprised this sort of thing is happening,” says the expert, noting similar ostracism after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The allegations come as seawater near the plant has been found to contain radioactive iodine, suggesting radiation from reactor cores is entering the Pacific. But the iodine will be “significantly diluted” before it enters the food chain, said an official. Click to read how fears about seafood safety are nevertheless rising. (More Japan stories.)

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