Cablegate: Urals Region Grapples with Grippe

DE RUEHYG #0074 3170933
R 130933Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The H1N1 outbreak is the main topic of the week in
Sverdlovsk oblast now that a new governor has been named. A flu
epidemic was declared for the oblast last week. Deaths from
H1N1 have been confirmed in Chelyabinsk oblast, Surgut, and
Bashkortostan. School vacations in many oblasts of the Urals
Federal District (URF) were extended, and health advisories to
avoid public meetings and to eat properly have been issued.
Pharmacies have run out of masks and supplies of cold and flu
remedies are low. End summary.

2. On November 6, Sverdlovsk oblast public health officials
declared a swine flu epidemic in six cities: Yekaterinburg,
Pervouralsk, Krasnoturyinsk, Serov, Verkhnyaya Pyshma and
Aramil. Doctors said that a swine flu epidemic has been present
in the region for at least three weeks. Experts believe the
epidemic in Sverdlovsk will last four weeks and estimate that 20
percent of the population will be infected. "We have confirmed
cases unconnected with trips to foreign counties in the last two
or three weeks. These are local cases. It means that the virus
is spreading in Yekaterinburg," Aleksandr Kharitonov, the city's
chief epidemiologist, said on November 9. Public health doctors
recommend that people wear facemasks to lessen the risk of
contracting or spreading the flu and Sverdlovsk towns now
require that public transport workers and employees of
supermarkets, shops, and cafes wear masks. The stock of masks
at many pharmacies ran out almost at once. Doctors will make
house calls on people complaining of fever to prevent spreading
the disease at hospitals. Next week the vaccination campaign
against swine flu will begin. The first to be inoculated are
children between three and 17 years of age.

3. As of November 11, Sverdlovsk confirmed 66 cases of swine
flu. Between October 1 and November 6 alone, 59 cases were
confirmed. The first case in the middle Urals was recorded this
summer when school children returned from trip to London.
Officials say the level of acute respiratory infections this
year is three times higher than the average in preceding years.
Last week, 33,692 cases of acute respiratory infection were
recorded, of which about half were in Yekaterinburg. About
2,000 cases of acute respiratory infection are confirmed in
Yekaterinburg alone every day. Officials have announced that
the best prophylactic available in Sverdlovsk is anti-flu
preparations and substances that strengthen the immune system.
Nutritionists stress the need to eat properly to ward off
infection, starting with breakfast. The suggested diet
emphasizes whole grains while cutting out fast food and sugar.

4. In Chelyabinsk oblast, officials have designated swine flu as
A/H1N1/California/04/09. In the 24-hour period from November 11
to 12, another four people were confirmed as having H1N1. The
total number of diagnosed cases in the oblast is now 128, of
whom 84 are children. Six have already died. On October 30,
the first death from swine flu occurred in Surgut (YNAO). The
patient died two days after delivering a baby. This was the
second death in the Urals Federal District of a pregnant woman.
Another woman died in Chelyabinsk oblast. On November 5, a
25-year old man died of H1N1 in Ufa, ten days after falling ill.
This was the sixth confirmed case in Bashkortostan.

5. In Kurgan oblast as of Nov. 11 there were 21 confirmed cases
of swine flu and 3,248 cases of acute respiratory infection; in
Perm oblast 124, of which 81 were confirmed in the last five
days. Perm city became one of three Russian cities where a
vaccine against H1N1 is being tested. The vaccine Inflyuvir has
already passed clinical trials and been determined safe for
trials on people older than 60 and children, the age groups
facing higher risks from flu complications. Perm is recruiting
30 adult volunteers for the trials. Medical experts expect that
within 30 days of vaccination they will be able to tell whether
an individual's immune system has strengthened. The first test
group will be adults. After the safety and efficacy of the
vaccine have been tested on adults, the vaccine will be tested
on three groups of children: one group of 12-18 year-olds, one
of 7-11 year olds, and one 3-6 year olds, each group of 30


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