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Original Research

Radiation exposure and immunity status of radiographers at government hospitals

Mousa Alnahhal, Yasser S M Alajerami, Sadi Jaber, Khaled Abushab, Ahmed Najim.

Background: Long-term exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation may affect cells, tissues, and body systems and result in various adverse health effects. Immunity system is known to be highly radiosensitive; therefore it is susceptible to radiation. Medical radiographers are occupationally exposed to chronic levels of ionizing radiation that may affect their immune response.

Objective: To investigate the effects of exposure to radiation on health and well-being, including tests of immune function of medical radiographers (MRs) at government hospitals-Gaza governorates.

Materials and Methods: A cohort study was conducted at six main government hospitals- Gaza governorates, Palestine. The immunity status of 92 medical radiographers who exposed to chronic ionizing radiation compared with control group of 97 medical laboratories who not exposed to chronic radiation.

Result: The result revealed that several health complains such as headache were higher among medical radiographers (46.7%) compared to medical laboratories (10.3%) with highly statistically significant level (p=0.000). Regarding immunity systems, the study showed that clinical symptoms such as gastritis, sore throat, and repeated infections were prevailing among exposed group compared with non-exposed group. Other clinical symptoms such as skin diseases, fever, and pallor did not reached the statistically significant levels (p>0.05). About venous blood samples, the results exhibited that the mean of immunoglobulin G and A were higher among medical radiographers (1279359), (215108) compared with the control group (1225209) and (120289) with no statistically significant level (p=0.324 and 0.498), respectively. Significant health complaints and clinical symptoms were recorded among medical radiographers compared with the matched control group.

Conclusion: Personal monitoring for ionizing radiation, periodic medical examination, and increasing level of protection for MRs is of utmost importance.

Key words: Immunity status, medical radiographers, ionizing radiation, X-ray

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