A survey refutes the increased morbidity or mortality rate of Chernobyl veterans | University of Tartu
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
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  • Institute of Social Studies
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    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Narva College
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  • Pärnu College
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Faculty of Medicine
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Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
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  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
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    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
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    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
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    Raekoja plats 6, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
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    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
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    (+372) 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
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    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6000, arvutiabi: 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
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    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
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    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
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    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
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    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
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    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
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    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
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    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
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    Faculty address: 
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  • View all other units

A survey refutes the increased morbidity or mortality rate of Chernobyl veterans

Kaja Rahu, who defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Tartu, found in her thesis that a quarter of a century after the Chernobyl disaster there is no proof that the small radiation doses received during the cleaning works have increased the morbidity or mortality rates of the veterans.

On 26 April 1986, there was an accident in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, after which the radioactive substances polluted the Northern Hemisphere. Approximately 350,000 people, the current Chernobyl veterans, were sent to clean up the most polluted areas in Ukraine, whereas over 17,000 of them were from the Baltic States. In her doctoral thesis the researcher at the National Institute for Health Development Kaja Rahu, who defended her thesis at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu, concentrates on whether and how the work in the Chernobyl area has affected the health of the veterans.

The epidemiological survey in which Rahu mainly used the data from the cancer registers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania indicated that in 1986–2007 the cancer incidents among the veterans and the male population of the respective countries were equal. "The veterans were more often diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which is due to the screening conducted among them," said Rahu.

The health of Estonian veterans was more thoroughly handled — additional data was collected from the Causes of Death Registry and the database of the Health Insurance Fund. "The mortality rate of the veterans in 1986–2011 did not differ from the mortality rate of the male population of the country. However, it occurred that the suicide risk of veterans was 30% higher than among the male population," outlined Rahu.

Based on the analysis of the data from the Health Insurance Fund for years 2004–2012, it occurred that the general morbidity (without tumours) of the veterans and the male population was equal. "The most notable difference was related to thyroid diseases: the morbidity of veterans was 1.7 times higher, however, the morbidity rate was not higher among the men who were sent to the catastrophe region immediately after the disaster. It is probable that this increase in the mortality rate was not due to the radiation but it reflects the more thorough medical surveillance of the veterans," found Rahu.

Therefore, a quarter of a century after the Chernobyl disaster there is no proof that the small radiation doses received during the cleaning works have increased the morbidity or mortality rates of the veterans.

Kaja Rahu defended her doctoral thesis "Morbidity and mortality among Baltic Chernobyl clean-up workers: a register-based cohort study" at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu on 28 August 2014.

The doctoral thesis was supervised by the leading researcher of the National Institute for Health Development Mati Rahu and the Professor of the Department of Public Health at the University of Tartu Anneli Uusküla.

The doctoral thesis is available in the DSpace environment of the University of Tartu.

Additional information: Anneli Uusküla, the Professor of the Department of Public Health at the University of Tartu, tel: +372 737 4195, + 372 518 3552, e-mail: anneli.uuskula [ät] ut.ee.

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