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||Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Protecting Civilian Americans in Japan during the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
||Simon SL, Coleman CN, Noska MA, Bowman T
||Abstract: Following the earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan on 11 March 2011 and the ensuing damage to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, a request by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) resulted in deployment of a five-person team of subject matter experts to the U.S. Embassy. The primary purpose of the deployment was to provide the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo with guidance on health and medical issues related to potential radiation exposure of U.S. citizens in Japan, including employees of the U.S. Department of State at consulates in Japan and American citizens living in or visiting Japan. At the request of the Government of Japan (GOJ), the deployed health team also assisted Japanese experts in their public health response to the radiation incident. Over a 3-wk period in Japan and continuing for weeks after their return to the U.S., the team provided expertise in the areas of medical and radiation oncology; health physics; assessment of radiation dose and cancer risk, particularly to U.S. citizens living in Tokyo and the surrounding areas; food and water contamination and the acceptable limits; countermeasures to exposure such as potassium iodide (KI); the use of KI and an offered donation from the United States;, evacuation and re-entry issues; and health/emergency-related communication strategies. This paper describes the various strategies used and observations made by the DHHS team during the first 2 mo after the Fukushima crisis began.