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Pneumonia outbreak in Russia’s Armed Forces

February 09, 2012, 11:36 UTC+3
1 pages in this article

On Tuesday, a soldier from strategic missile troops division in Krasnoyarsk died of pneumonia. The number of soldiers, serving at the division in the city of Uzhur /the Krasnoyarsk Territory/, who catch the disease, is growing. The number of those taken to the hospital grew from 16 to 43. Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case following the death of the soldier and the mass outbreak of the disease. Officers of the division are suspected of carelessness.

Kommersant writes that regional authorities reported the outbreak on Tuesday. An 18 year-old soldier Ivan Permitin died in the local hospital of pneumonia. Sanitary aviation delivered him to Krasnoyarsk on Friday as he was in a critical state. Other soldiers found him lying on the floor in the stokehold. Later on, another 16 soldiers with a diagnosis “virus pneumonia” were evacuated from Uzhur.

Thus, as of Wednesday there were 43 people who were taken to hospital with pneumonia. The state of most soldiers is considered to be stable, one soldier remains in the reanimation department.

The military insists on a virus origin of the disease, the newspaper writes. But a deputy of the legal parliament Yuri Shvytin suspected the reason was the uniform, which is unsuitable for Sibleria, and poor heating of the barracks. He said that relatives of the soldiers continuously addressed the deputy complaining about low temperatures in the barracks, which was never over 15 degrees Celsius. The defence ministry disclaims all accusations. 

The military investigative department of Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on the grounds of carelessness, which caused major violation of rights and legal interests of citizens, and an accidental death of a human being.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes that it was not the first case of mass diseases in the Armed Forces. In autumn, about 30 soldiers were sick with pneumonia, and one of them died in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Earlier, a bigger outbreak of pneumonia and influenza /up to several hundred/ was fixed in Voronezh. There one soldier also died.

In December of 2010, in Yurga /Kemerovo region/ over 200 soldiers were taken to hospitals with a bad cold.

In almost all of the cases, the military used assistance from civil doctors, while only several years earlier, military medical institutions were considered to be among the country’s most effective ones, the newspaper says.

A medical expert, who had been working for a long time at the chief military medical department told anonymously to the newspaper’s reporter that mass diseases in the troops are caused “by the system's drawbacks in reforming military medicine:” “Over two years, the staff of the military medical institutions in the Armed Forces was dramatically cut.” Thus, the result is the growth of diseases among soldiers.

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