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Sickest JCO worker shows signs of pneumonia.

TOKYO, Oct. 5 Kyodo

A JCO Co. worker exposed to a massive dose of radiation in Japan's worst nuclear accident last week is exhibiting signs of pneumonia, doctors said Tuesday.

Doctors at the Tokyo University Hospital have found dark spots in X-ray shots taken of the lungs of Hisashi Ouchi, 35, one of three workers seriously affected in Thursday's radiation leak at a uranium processing plant run by the company in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Ouchi, who was exposed to 17 sieverts of radiation, is due to receive a transfusion of peripheral stem cells Wednesday from his brother to activate his blood-producing functions, which has deteriorated due to a sustained drop in his white blood corpuscle and blood platelet count.

The amount of radiation is equivalent about 17,000 times the average annual exposure in Japan, scientists have said.

In Tuesday's briefing on Ouchi's condition, doctors said that although Ouchi is conscious, they cannot lower their guard because excess fluid is continuing to accumulate in his lungs as a result of dehydration -- a side effect of radiation poisoning.

Another JCO worker, Yutaka Yokokawa, 54, who is confined to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba, east of Tokyo, has suffered a slight drop of white blood cells and lymphocytes but has retained consciousness and appetite, doctors at the institute said.

The doctors said Yokokawa, who was the least exposed among the three at 3 sieverts, has normal body temperature and blood pressure. He is being given treatment to maintain the level of body fluids through a combination of oral feeding and intravenous drip.

But they also expressed caution, saying they expect the full effects of radiation poisoning, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, to set in after a while.

A third worker, Masato Shinohara, 39, who was exposed to 8 sieverts, is being considered for umbilical cord blood transfusion at the Research Hospital of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo.

In addition to the three, at least 46 people were exposed to radiation in Thursday's criticality accident involving a nuclear fission chain reaction.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Date:Oct 11, 1999
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