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Russia’s second largest city hit by swine flu epidemic

January 20, 13:48 UTC+3 ST PETERSBURG
Swine flu accounts for some 60% of flu cases
1 pages in this article
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS

ST PETERSBURG, January 20. /TASS/. The authorities of the Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg on Wednesday announced a flu epidemic, with 60% of swine flu cases.

"The epidemic threshold exceeds 28%, mainly among children aged between three and six," a local health official said.

"Currently some 80% of those infected with respiratory viruses have influenza," she said. "Swine flu accounts for some 60% of 260 laboratory confirmed cases."

Too late for flu vaccinations

The Russian Health Ministry says it is too late to get vaccinated against flu as the seasonal outbreak of the disease has already started.

"People should not get vaccinated at the moment," deputy minister Tatiana Yakovleva said on Wednesday. "Immunity to the virus builds up for two weeks after the vaccination, so it is better to get vaccinated in October-November."

According to the official, 27 people died of flu this year. Death rate is the highest in Russia’s second largest city of St Petersburg where the epidemic threshold exceeds 28%

Virulent modification of influenza, which is swine flu, is spreading in Russia. The virus causes dangerous complications, including pneumonia, changings in blood composition and thrombus formation.

Federal consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova earlier reported the growth of the number of those infected with swine flu.

"Currently some 42% of those infected with different viruses have swine flu,"Popova said. "In the beginning of December only four percent had swine flu."

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova earlier said the swine flu activity will reach its peak in late January and early February.

Swine flu is the popular name for influenza caused by a relatively new strain of influenza virus A. It was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009. The virus is officially known as influenza virus A/H1N1.

Swine flu is contagious, and it spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu. The most serious complication of the flu is pneumonia, leading to fatal cases.

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