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More than 20 cases of swine flu recorded in Kamchatka

January 22, 5:43 UTC+3 YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK
However, doctors have urged the Kamchatka residents to take all feasible precautions to protect themselves from the flu
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© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, January 22. /TASS/. More than 20 cases of influenza caused by the H1N1 virus have been registered in Kamchatka however no severe cases have been reported, according to the press service of the regional government.

"As of 22 January, the region has registered 21 cases of H1N1 influenza. There are 18 adults and 3 children among the diseased. All the patients are in moderate severity condition. No severe and atypical forms of influenza and viral pneumonia cases have been recorded. I’d like to note that all the patients are not vaccinated against flu," the press service quoted Acting Health Minister of Russia’s Kamchatka Territory Marina Volkova.

According to her, to date, 20 people have been taken to the infectious department of the Kamchatka regional centre for the prevention and control of AIDS and other infectious diseases, including 6 people - with acute respiratory disease (ARD), 13 people - wit influenza A (H1N1), 1 person - with A flu. The children's infectious disease hospital of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has received 38 children, including 35 children with ARD and 3 children with influenza A (H1N1).

"All healthcare establishments of the Kamchatka region have been prepared to deal with rising ARD and influenza incidence. They have the necessary material resources and have created reserves of antiviral drugs, means of individual protection, disinfectants, they are also provided with the special medical equipment and transport," Volkova said.

However, doctors have urged the Kamchatka residents to take all feasible precautions to protect themselves from the flu.

The regional Health Ministry says the flu virus is easily transmitted from person to person and can cause respiratory disease of varying severity, event severe viral pneumonia. All the influenza types are accompanied by similar symptoms: high body temperature, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body pain, headache, chills and muscle ache. The H1N1 type influenza can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea. A characteristic feature of the flu is the early appearance of complications. Complications may develop as early as on the 1st day of the illness.

The Russian Health Ministry said previously now 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 January 20. "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 have 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.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most swine influenza viruses (SIVs) do not cause disease in humans. However, some countries have reported cases of human infection with SIVs. Most of these human infections have been mild and the viruses have not spread further to other people. The H1N1 virus that caused the influenza pandemic in 2009-2010, thought to have originated in swine, is an example of an SIV that was able to spread easily among people and also cause disease. Because pigs can become infected with influenza viruses from a variety of different hosts (such as birds and humans), they can act as a "mixing vessel," facilitating the reassortment of influenza genes from different viruses and creating a "new" influenza virus. The concern is that such "new" reassortant viruses may be more easily spread from person to person, or may cause more severe disease in humans than the original viruses. WHO and animal health sector partners are working at the human-animal interface to identify and reduce animal health and public health risks within national contexts.

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