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[Epidemiology of Minamata Disease--Focus on the Clinical Features Related to the 1977 Diagnostic Criteria].

Authors
  • Futatsuka, Makoto1
  • 1 Emeritus Professor of Kumamoto University.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Nihon eiseigaku zasshi. Japanese journal of hygiene
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2015
Volume
70
Issue
3
Pages
271–276
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1265/jjh.70.271
PMID: 26411946
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Large-scale food poisoning caused by methylmercury was identified in Minamata, Japan, in the 1950s (Minamata Disease). Although the diagnostic criteria for the disease was controversial and difficult during that time, we, the Kumamoto University Study Group, carried out a large-scale study to assess the clinical features in 1972-1973. The author tried to reassess the results of that study to appraise the diagnostic criteria established in 1977 on the basis of those results. A substantial number of residents in the exposed area exhibited neurologic signs, especially paresthesia of only the extremities, namely, the male residents of Minamata City showed a positive predictive value of 0.73 and a negative predictive value of 0.23. The relative risks of paresthesia only were 2.6 (2.0-3.3) and 1.2 (0.9-1.5), in Minamata and Goshonoura related to Ariake (control), respectively. At least until 1977, the diagnostic criteria remained valid, although it was inadequate. Nevertheless, presently, a follow-up study of the certified patients may lead to the development of efficient new diagnostic criteria.

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