H1N1

NOVEMBER 6 2009 18:05h

Ukraine epidemic kills 109

Photo

World
0

Text

Meanwhile, an expert from the World Health Organisation suggested that thousands more patients in Ukraine's hospitals could be infected.

An epidemic of flu and respiratory infections raging through Ukriane has claimed 109 lives, with 14 of the deaths confirmed as linked to swine flu, health officials said on Friday.

Meanwhile, an expert from the World Health Organisation suggested that thousands more patients in Ukraine's hospitals could be infected with the A(H1N1) virus that causes swine flu.

A total of 763,000 people have fallen ill with flu and acute respiratory infections in the epidemic in recent weeks, with 34,000 of them hospitalised, the country's top sanitary doctor Olexander Bilovol told reporters.

He said 109 people had died, up from the previous toll of 95 deaths announced on Thursday.

- Thirty-two cases of A(H1N1) have been confirmed in the country, including 14 in people who died - Bilovol said. Earlier this week officials said there had been five deaths from the swine flu virus.

Jukka Pukkila, the chief of a team of eight WHO experts visiting Ukraine to assess the epidemic, indicated that the scale of the swine flu outbreak could be much larger than the number of confirmed cases suggested.

- We are working on the basis that most of the reported hospital cases are A(H1N1) - Pukkila said.

Last week the Ukrainian government announced some of the toughest measures imposed anywhere in Europe to prevent the spread of swine flu, including a three-week closure of the country's schools.

The epidemic is concentrated in the west of the country which has borders with four European Union states, but a growing number of cases are being reported in the capital Kiev.

More than 6,000 people have died worldwide since the swine flu pandemic was first discovered in April, according to the most recent WHO data