Effects of Exposure to Radiation on the Immunity Status of Medical Radiographers at Governmental Hospitals-Gaza Governorates
Mousa Hafez Alnahhal
موسى حافظ النحال
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’s susceptible to radiation. Medical radiographers are occupationally exposed to chronic levels of ionizing radiation that may affect their immune response. So, the aim of this study was to investigate effects of exposure to radiation on the immunity status of medical radiographers at governmental hospitals-Gaza governorates. The study design was a case control study conducted in six main hospitals. A total of 92 medical radiographers exposed to chronic ionizing radiation compared with control group of 97medical laboratories who never exposed to chronic radiation. The cases and controls had the same age, gender, years of experience, and smoking status. A questionnaire and blood tests were the tools of the study. The study reported a response rate of 83.6 % for exposed group and 74.6 % from control group for the questionnaire. While the response rate of the venous blood samples was 58.8 % and 60.2 % for exposed and non-exposed groups respectively controls in case of venous blood sampling. The results 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 found that clinical symptoms such as gastritis, sore throat, repeated infections, and sinusitis were prevailing among exposed group compared with non-exposed group with statistically significant differences (p<0.05). Other clinical symptoms such as skin diseases, fever, and pallor did not reached the statistically significant levels (p>0.05). About venous blood samples, our study results found that mean difference of Immunoglobulin G and A were higher among medical radiographers (1279±359), (215±108) compared with the control group (1225±209) and ((1202±89) with no statistically significant level (p=0.324 and 0.498) respectively. In addition, white blood cells and lymphocytes counts showed some variations between exposed and control group with no statistically significant differences. In conclusion, significant health complaints and clinical symptoms were recorded among medical radiographers compared with the matched control group. Thus, personnel monitoring for ionizing radiation, periodic medical examination, and increasing level of protection for MRs is of utmost importance.