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Public Health Emergency Preparedness

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Table 6.3. Initial or Prodromal Phase, Whole Body Irradiation From External Radiation or Internal Absorption (Gamma Radiation)

Symptom Subclinical range (cGy [rad]) Sublethal range(cGy [rad]) Lethal range(cGy [rad])
0-100 100-200 200-600 600-800 800-3000 >3000
Vomiting (onset and percentage) None 3-6 hr
2-4 hr
1-2 hr
<1 hr
<1 hr
Nausea duration   <24 hr <24 hr <48 hr <48 hr <48 hr
Diarrhea (severity, onset, and percentage)     Moderate
3-8 hr
< 10%
1-3 hr
> 10%
< 3 hr
> 10%
Very severe
< 1 hr
Lymphocyte count (× 106/L)a Unaffected Minimally decreased within normal range 2000-1000 at 24 hr 1000-800 at 24 hr <1000 at 24 hr Decreases with hours
Headache, (severity, onset, and percentage)
  Slight Mild to moderate
4-24 hr
< 50%
3-4 hr
< 80%
< 4 hr
> 80%
Central nervous system (CNS) function No impairment No impairment Routine task performance; cognitive impairment for 6-20 hr Simple and routine task performance; cognitive impairment for >24 hr Progressive incapacitation
Body temperature (severity, onset, and percentage)   Normal Increased and fever
< 3 hr
High fever
< 1 hr

a Normal range 1400-3500 × 106/L

Source: Adapted from other resources (Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 2003; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Diagnosis and Treatment of Radiation Injuries. Safety Reports, Series 2. IAEA, Vienna, Austria; 1998); used with permission.

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