For a Long-Suffering Population, Uncertainty Reigns

Science  23 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5623, pp. 1222
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5623.1222

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SEMEY, KAZAKHSTAN-- In the depths of the Cold War, a medical clinic in this city (formerly Semipalatinsk) in northeastern Kazakhstan had the ostensible purpose of caring for people with brucellosis, a bacterial disease picked up from livestock. Only after the Soviet Union unraveled did the real mission of Antibrucellosis Clinic No. 4 become clear: to observe the population near the Semipalatinsk Test Site for radiation illness and monitor radioactive contamination in the region.