Over 200 people suffering from earthquake sickness, Japan

Over 200 people suffering from earthquake sickness, Japan

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More than 200 people in Kyushu, southern Japan are suffering from earthquake sickness, a state linked to a loss of balance that can cause nausea and panic. The state was reported over two months after Japan was hit by two major earthquakes, only several days apart.

The complaint, also known as a post-earthquake syndrome, "jishin-yoi" literally means "earthquake drunk" and in addition to nausea and disrupted balance, it can cause the sufferers to think another earthquake is on the way. According to some experts, it's somewhat similar to motion sickness while others believe it's some type of earthquake phobia.

The condition was reported after a M6.2 earthquake hit on April 14, 2016, followed by a M7.3 quake less than two days later. The two earthquakes killed 50 people while thousands were injured, and numerous buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage. The earthquakes were the strongest since a M9.1 hit the northeast Japan in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that killed over 19 000 people.

Video credit: NHK

The earthquake sickness was also reported following the 2011 earthquake event. However, as over 1 600 aftershocks continued to strike the region of Kyushu since April 2016, the condition appears to be longer lasting.

About 50% of 214 people who registered the conditions, also reported a feeling of depression, and physiological stress and anxiety likely contributed to experiencing the earthquake sickness. 80% of the diagnosed people are women. Also, numerous people are residing in their vehicles or emergency shelters since their houses were destroyed in an earthquake.

According to experts, the condition seems to be calming down as the aftershocks decrease.

Featured image: Aerial footage of an M7.3 in Japan, April 15, 2016. Image credit: NKH

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