Public health


328 were hospitalized in August due to heat stroke

There were 328 citizens hospitalized in August in the prefecture due to heat stroke, increasing by 120 compared with the same month of a year earlier, Shiga Prefectural Government says. This record is the second largest on a monthly-basis in history while the largest number reported ever is 341 in August 2010. It is presumed that there were many citizens who restrained themselves from using air conditioners for eco-conscious reasons and extremely hot days which continued exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

According to Shiga Prefectural Government, there were 144 elderly people over 65 years old, and 48 juveniles under 19 years old, constituting 59% of the total. Of those, 3 patients were hospitalized for more than three weeks, and 72 were temporarily hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

When faced with lingering summer heat, everyone is advised to drink water and to use air-conditioners properly," says an official from the Senior Citizens' Vitality and Welfare Division.

(Sankei Shimbun, September 6, 2013)



Be cautious of toxic mushroom propagating in Shiga

Kaentake, a toxic mushroom scientifically called Podostroma cornu-damae , was found at the neighborhood of the Prefectural Forest Research Center in Kitazakura, Yasu City. The Center confirmed this species has been found for three years in a row. With the mushroom having been found in Koka City as well, the Center believes the species is propagating throughout the prefecture, and warns the public not to touch nor eat it.

Kaentake is 3 to 5 centimeters in height, looking like human fingers painted red. Trichothecene, a toxin contained in the mushroom, makes you suffer from diarrhea and vomiting, leading to mobility impairment and even death.

Under the condition of being raw, the lethal dose of the toxin is 3 grams, and there was a fatal case reported in Niigata Prefecture in 1999. Even if you survived, you might suffer from aftereffects of your cerebellum damaged, let alone dermatitis.

This summer has been hot and humid since July due to intense heat and unexpectedly strong rain, which gives good conditions for the fungus to propagate. The mushroom usually can be seen near dead trees, but a specialist from the Center says there has been reported that Kaentake was even found near living trees. "Don't touch it from out of curiosity," says the specialist.

(Chunichi Shimbun, August 16, 2013)



Prefecture to establish Suicide Prevention Resource Center

It was unveiled that the Shiga Prefectural Government (SPG) formulated a policy to establish the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in 2013 to provide comprehensive counseling and support. The Center is expected to play a pivotal role to deal with suicides triggered by various factors.

There are three elements that will constitute the new center. First, SPG is to assign a clinical psychologist and a psychiatric social worker to the Center, in order to indentify what kind of support should be provided. Second, the Shiga Prefecture Suicide Prevention Liason Council, currently located in Prefecture Office, will move to the Center, and will function as a catalyst for networks among related agencies. Third, SPG is to commission the Shiga Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists to handle consultation requests made through telephone, with the aim of enhancing some counselling and guidance functions.

The number of suicides in Shiga is steadily increasing. From 2009 to 2011, there were 326 cases, 356 cases, and 376 cases reported in each year. 2011 has marked the worst record since 1996. The suicides were triggered by various factors such as sickness, loneliness, poverty, mental illness, and so on.

"We intensively need to tackle the suicide problems, and we hope the new Center will sufficiently contribute to the prevention of those tragic events," says a SPG official.

(Chunichi Shimbun, January 12, 2013)



Omi High School: a list of X-ray photos of 245 students was lost

It turned out that the Kinki Kenko Kanri Center, an inspection institution located in Otsu, had lost a list of X-ray photos of 245 students of Omi High School, sources say. 

The medical examination was conducted on April 10, and the Center reported to the Hikone-based private high school on April 26 about the fact that the Center had lost the list.   

There is a possibility that a staff member of the institution mistakenly disposed of the list that matched the photos. As abnormal symptoms were not found among the students, the school decided not to redo medical examination, for fear of exposure to X-rays affecting their health badly.

"We recognize this case as a serious mistake. We will take necessary measures to prevent the same problem from happening," commented a contact person of the Center.

(Sankei Shmbun, May 8, 2012)



No radioactive substance detected in Omi Beef

On September 2, the Shiga Prefectural Government reported that no radioactive substance was detected in Shiga-produced beef including Omi Beef. The sampling tests, targeted for 108 stockbreeders in the prefecture, started from September 1.

The first samples were 6 beef cattle selected from Omihachiman City, Konan City, Kora Town, and Aisho Town. A research institute the prefecture contracted with tested each cattle, and detected less than 1 Bq per kg, which is considered to be harmless.

The sampling tests are going to be finished by October. From November, after the prefecture arranging an inspection system, all the cattle will be tested before shipment. If radioactive substance detected exceeds 250 Bq per kg, the stockbreeders will be asked not to sell the beef. If it exceeds 500 Bq per kg, the prefecture will order them not to do it.   

(Kyoto Shmbun, September 2, 2011)

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The outbreak of poisonous toadstool reported in Shiga

On August 23, the Forest Research Center, an institution run by the Shiga Prefectural Government, reported that the outbreak of poisonous red toadstool called Kaentake was occurring in the prefecture. The institution is warning people not to touch the red toadstool because there was a death from poisoning reported in Nagano Prefecture in 1999.

With its shape looked like fingers, the height of Kaentake ranges from 3cm to 15cm. It can be seen in forests of broadleaf trees from rainy season to autumn. It's believed that the toadstool thrive near the roots of beech trees after they wither and die.

"We have hardly seen Kaentake for the past several years, but with the deaths of beech trees expanding, the toadstool has been thriving across the prefecture," says an official of the institution.

(Mainichi Shimbun, August 24, 2011)

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No radioactive substance detected in Shiga-produced rice

On August 19, the Shiga Prefectural Government conducted the first sampling tests at Institute of Public Health to detect radiation in rice harvested in Takashima, Shiga. No radioactive substance was detected.

"We will continue to conduct the sampling tests to provide consumers with safety and relief when it comes down to Shiga-produced rice," commented Governor Kada.

The prefecture will gradually conduct the same tests by the end of September, covering other 18 municipalities.

(Kyoto Shimbun, August 19, 2011)

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Nagahama: Malfunction of a semi-automatic defibrillator reported

On February 18th, the Kohoku Local Firefighting Authority (KLFA), headquartered in Nagahama, announced that a semi-automatic defibrillator didn't work when a 69-year-old man was on the ambulance. The man died later at the hospital.

According to the KLFA, the man said he felt suffocated in the early morning on February 12th, and then his family member called for an ambulance. On the way to the hospital, an ambulanceman tried to use a semi-automatic defibrillator because of the cardiac arrest, but the equipment didn't work.

The defibrillator is TEC-2503, produced by Nihon Kohden Corp. The number of the same products used nationwide is 1060, so the corporation will inspect all of them.

(JijiPress, February 18, 2011)

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Prefecture conducted a livestock disease drill

The Shiga Prefectural Government conducted a joint livestock disease drill on June 14 at the prefectural office, assuming that there is an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Local authorities and stock farmers gathered and confirmed the procedure and cooperation in case of an outbreak being spread to Shiga.

At the drill, the prefecture told the attendees how the procedure would proceed based on the epidemics prevention manual when dealing with the disease.

"Prompt measures are vital to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from expanding. You are encouraged to find suitable places where you bury carcass of your livestock once they are infected with the disease," said an official of the Livestock Management Division.

(Kyoto Shimbun, June 14, 2010)

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Suicide Hotline: the number of calls has been increasing

Shiga Inochi No Denwa, a NPO established to prevent suicide, has seen the number of calls regarding suicide increasing since this autumn. The reason behind this derived from the change that the NPO expanded its operation by increasing the number of business days from once to three times a week.

Shiga Inochi No Denwa started its operation from August 2008. Volunteer counselors are to give consultations for those who are obsessed with suicide. The NPO received phone calls 25 times a month from January to June 2009. However, the number of calls increased to 84 when toll free line opened in July, and skyrocketed to 141 the next month when the extra line was added. The number of consultations ended up being 178 in September when the business days increased.

"We would like to locate more counselors to handle phone calls everyday. I hope our organization can help the people with emotional crisis overcome difficulties they face by telling their problems on the phone." says Tetsuo Horikawa, secretary general of the NPO.

(Kyoto Shimbun, December 31, 2009) 

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