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Forecasts Ebola virus may reach Russia late October not true — leading Russian virologist

October 09, 2014, 17:49 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

A Russian medic currently helping Guinean authorities fight the deadly virus says the risk of Ebola reaching Russia by end of October is exaggerated

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ST. PETERSBURG, October 9. /TASS/. A leading Russian virologist, who is currently on an assignment in Guinea helping the local authorities to fight the Ebola virus disease epidemic, has dismissed the forecasts there are risks the virus may reach Russia after October 24.

Alexander Semyonov, chief of the central clinical diagnostic laboratory at the St. Petersburg’s Pasteur Research Institute, described the forecast as a “lie, provocation and gossip.”

The forecast saying the risk of the virus getting into Russia will go up to 5% as of October 24, made at the Laboratory for Modelling Biological and Socio-Technical Systems (MoBS) at the Northeastern University, in Boston, “has nothing to do with the real situation,” the scientist said.

Semyonov is in Guinea on his third assignment since the epidemic began. He is advising local medics on ways of struggling with the spread of the disease and also giving recommendations to Russia’s sanitary authorities on specific measures to be taken to keep the Ebola virus out of Russia.

Earlier, Semyonov told TASS the main factor for the epidemic in African countries was the meat of bats, which many locals, especially people in remote impoverished rural areas often use for food. Local mentality and traditions are other factors for such culinary preferences, he added.

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