Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Miraculous Healing. Government is to declare the conclusion of flu epidemic in Ukraine, but what will be the next ‘red herring’ for the nation?

After more than two weeks of alarmed statements of top Ukrainian officials concerning the flu expansion through all the regions of Ukraine, the tone of state evaluation of the health situation in country has changed dramatically. Now everyone, starting from functionaries of the Health Ministry and finishing with the Prime Minister herself, is talking about the end of the flu epidemic in Ukraine. Miraculous healing of the nation, isn’t it?

Tomorrow the decision on termination of quarantine state in Ukrainian schools, universities and other institutions is to be taken. Almost no one is wearing protection mask in public places. Candidates for Presidential election are vigorously preparing new multi-thousand public rallies.

The Ministry of Health went further, starting to deny the very fact that we had a noticeable amount of swine flu cases at all. Today, on 19 November 2009, First Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Vasyl Lazoryshynets stated that “we had performed an examination of probes of 1168 people, and in 225 cases it was proved that it is a flu virus of A/H1N1 type” (the quotation according to the UNIAN information agency). 21 from 238 fatal cases have proved to be caused by the flu of A-type, and 17 from them – by A/H1N1.

Since the start of the flu epidemic on 29 October 2009, 1 million 120 thousand of people has recovered, Mr. Lazoryshynets added. ‘The situation is stabilizing and the quantity of regions, where the epidemic threshold has not been overcome is 12’ (half of the regions of Ukraine).

Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko also informed the members of Government during today’s Cabinet sitting that there is a substantial reduction of the quantity of sick people in Ukraine. ‘Step by step we are getting out of the epidemic we had at the end of October and at the beginning of November’, she said. ‘And Government has done all it had to do’. Thanks to the Governmental actions, 7 regions of Ukraine have not reached an epidemic threshold at all, Prime Minister declared.

So, the day after tomorrow Ukraine may start to forget the word combination ‘swine flu’. What will be the next alarming phrase Ukrainians will hear the most in the speeches of top politicians? ‘Russian gas’?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

World Health Organization: H1N1 has not mutated in Ukraine. Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Ukraine - update 2

A copy-paste of the second issue of the World Health Organization report (just one question, which exactly vaccine are they talking about):

17 November 2009 -- Preliminary tests reveal no significant changes in the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus based on investigations of samples taken from patients in Ukraine. Analyses are being performed by two WHO influenza collaborating centres as part of the global influenza surveillance network.

Preliminary genetic sequencing shows that the virus is similar to the virus used for production of the pandemic influenza vaccine, reconfirming the vaccine's efficacy at this time.

Additional questions about the pandemic virus circulating in Ukraine will be answered as more data is available.

WHO commends the government of Ukraine for its open sharing of samples to inform global monitoring of the virus for signs of change.

A total of 34 samples were analysed independently by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Mill Hill in London, UK, and the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

British scientists testing Ukrainian 'super flu' that has killed 189 people - The Daily Mail

A recent Ukrainian-swine-flu article from the Daily Mail.
Last updated at 10:41 PM on 15th November 2009

British scientists are examining the strain of swine flu behind a deadly Ukrainian outbreak to see if the virus has mutated. A total of 189 people have died and more than one million have been infected in the country. Some doctors have likened the symptoms to those seen in many of the victims of the Spanish flu which caused millions of deaths world-wide after the World War One.

An unnamed doctor in western Ukraine told of the alarming effects of the virus. He said: 'We have carried out post mortems on two victims and found their lungs are as black as charcoal. 'They look like they have been burned. It's terrifying.'

Neighbouring Poland has called on the EU to take action, fearing the mystery virus may spread westwards. Prime Minister Donald Tusk has written to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, who holds the EU presidency. The letter said: 'The character of this threat demands that rapid action be undertaken at the European Union level.' Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania have already launched health checks on Ukrainians entering their territory. Slovakia has closed two of five border crossings.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has called in the World Health Organisation. A team of specialists are carrying out tests in Kiev and Lviv in an effort to identify the virus. President Yushchenko said: 'People are dying. The epidemic is killing doctors. This is absolutely inconceivable in the 21st Century.' In a TV interview, the President added: 'Unlike similar epidemics in other countries, three causes of serious viral infections came together simultaneously in Ukraine: two seasonal flus and the Californian flu. 'Virologists conclude that this combination of infections may produce an even more aggressive new virus as a result of mutation.'

Four men and one woman have died from the flu in Lviv, said emergency hospital chief doctor Myron Borysevych. Two of the dead patients were in the 22-35 age group, with two others over 60. He diagnosed the disease as viral pneumonia. 'We have sent the analyses to Kiev. We don't believe it's H1N1 swine flu. Neither do we know what kind of pneumonia it is.'

Universities, schools and nurseries have been closed, public meetings have been banned and theatres shut.

The virus from the Ukraine is being tested at the Medical Research council labs in Mill Hill North London . A spokesman said: 'We do not have a time scale for the results of the tests, although some preliminary results have been obtained. I cannot tell you what they are.
'We did not have enough of the virus samples so we will have to grow some more before we can come to a conclusive decision about its nature.'

Monday, November 16, 2009

Flu epidemic has reached its peak, the Health Ministry of Ukraine informs. Meanwhile the opposition accused Yulia Tymoshenko in making money on panic.

The flu and ARVI epidemic in Ukraine has already reached its peak, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine Vasyl Lazoryshynets informed at the press-briefing today. According to Deputy Minister, 54% of people who were hospitalized since 29 October have already recovered from sickness.

Talking about the swine flu, Mr. Lazoryshynets said that there were 166 documented cases of swine flu (A/H1N1) in Ukraine, and 15 of them were fatal.

Though, it is well known that very limited number of Ukrainians had an opportunity to be examined, whether they have a swine flu or not. I asked my district doctor today (while she was filling in my sick-leave certificate), how many recommendations for a swine-flu examination had she signed in our district. The answer was ‘none at all’.

‘Some private clinics are practicing such an examination’, the nurse added. According to witnesses, one of the well-known Kyiv private medical centers performed a kind of PR-action in one of the shopping plazas in Kyiv: everyone passing-by was proposed to have a free swine-flu test.

The Health Ministry of Ukraine, and Vasyl Lazoryshynets in particular, also gave an interesting peace of indormation today. To receive any kind of swine-flu diagnostics an average Ukrainian should be either severely ill (hospitalized) or/and pregnant, or dead.

Meanwhile the opposition Party of Regions started to blame the Government and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in provoking total panic around the A/H1N1 epidemic, and even in making money on that. The MP from the Party of Regions Hanna Herman, Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information, has stated today during the popular TV-show that the epidemic is a way for the Block of Yulia Tymoshenko to earn money on selling drugs via affiliated and ‘friendly’ companies.

‘Yulia Tymoshenko made money on drugs during the epidemic’, Hanna Herman declared.
Now the Government says the epidemic has finished. And even more – Government is supporting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest to be held this Saturday in Kyiv. That suggests the flu epidemic panic was fake, MP assumed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

High mortality rate in Ukraine is caused by a wrong antibiotic treatment? A/H1N1 epidemic update.

With this post I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my flu-time. Thank you very much for your letters, comments and very kind words!

Now I feel much better and couldn’t stand but share with you the interview of Viktor Bachynsky, Head of the Chernivtsi Regional Bureau of the Medico-Legal Investigation. Mr Bachynsky was heading a group of medical professionals who were investigating the recent swine-flu fatal cases in Western Ukraine.

His conclusion is the following: it is not a pneumonia, but cardiopulmonary decompensation and cardiogenic shock, which causes death as a complication after the A/H1N1 virus. Simply said, the A/H1N1 virus in Ukraine is not causing pneumonia, but the toxic distress-syndrome, total lungs affection.

‘Antibiotics don’t help… One who has a strong immune system survives. One with weak immune system dies’, the medico-legal expert says. Viktor Bachynsky emphasized that high morbidity and mortality rate in Ukraine is caused not by a severe infection, but with wrong antibiotic treatment, when in lot of cases people were taking antibiotics without prescription.

Mr. Bachysnky also said that widely advertized in Ukraine Tamiflu may be useful only when is taken within first 48-72 hours.

The full Ukrainian version of the interview is here.

The Health Ministry of Ukraine informed yesterday that 1 million 308 thousands 911 Ukrainianы are sick with flu, ARVI or its coplications. 265 Ukrainians died since 29 October 2009, 26 of them – since Thursday.

Meanwhile, the WHO European Regional Office informed yesterday that the ‘initial analysis of information indicates that the numbers of severe cases do not appear to be excessive when compared to the experience of other countries and do not represent any change in the transmission or virulence of the virus’ in Ukraine.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1 million 31 thousands 596 Ukrainians plus Tetyana Vysotska. The latest statistics on flu, ARVI and their complications (like pneumonia) incidence.

As of 9 November 2009, 1031597 Ukrainians are sick with flu, ARVI or pneumonia, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine has informed today. One of the ‘victims’ comprised in this figure is me. I’m sick starting from Friday, but called a doctor only today. So, am moved from hidden sickness cases to the official statistics.

Meanwhile, the doctor told me I’ve got ARVI with some complications with lungs. I was told it is impossible to have a test on whether it may be a swine flu. (I sincerely hope it is not). So, I’ve started to take antibiotic the doctor prescribed.

According to the Ukrainian Health Ministry, starting from 29 October 2009, 174 Ukrainians died (19 – during the last day).

Friday, November 6, 2009

871 thousand of Ukrainians are sick with flu, ARVI or pneumonia - Health Ministry of Ukraine

Official information of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine as of 6 November 2009: 871037 Ukrainians are sick with flu, ARVI or pneumonia. 135 died, 25 of them - has died today.

Deputy Head of Kyiv City Administration Irena Kilchytska has just informed at the TV-show I'm watching now that there are 7 proved A/H1N1 cases in the capital of Ukraine, and 2 women died.

Every second Ukrainian will be down with swine flu – Emergency Situations Ministry

About 60 percent of citizens of Ukraine will be sick with the swine flu. It is a prognosis of the Head of the Department of Healthcare and Medical-Biological Protection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Ukraine Oleksiy Gromzin, expressed during the ministerial hotline today.

‘Professionals forecast a couple of waves of rise of ARVI, and also A/H1N1 incidence, because the population doesn’t have a layer with immunity to it. That’s why it is forecasted that about 60% or maybe a bit less or more, of the country population will fall sick with the swine flu.', he said

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Political Flu. President of Ukraine may extend his time in office, imposing the state of emergency in Ukraine due to A/H1N1 epidemy.

January, 17, 2010 may turn out to be just a common Sunday, nothing more. It seems possible that the day of election of the President of Ukraine will be one or even two or more months later. This situation will come true, if the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko imposes the state of emergency in Ukraine to fight swine flu more effectively.

Viktor Yushchenko made a televised appeal to Ukrainian people today. In his short speech he criticized strongly the Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn and the opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych (all of them are his rivals at the presidential poll 2010) in ignoration of the information on the epidemic situation in Ukraine in October 2009.

One of the risk factors of A/H1N1 in Ukraine is epidemic, fast-moving character of spread of the infection on the West of a country, President said. ‘Government, the management of the Parliament and opposition knew that as early as at the beginning of October 2009’, Viktor Yushchenko claimed. ‘First and the most effective preventive measure is a prevention of crowds. Ignoring this principle, hundreds of thousands of people were taken to Kyiv from different regions’.

President meant the big public gatherings during the presidential nomination of his main opponents. Especially crowded was the Maydan-based nomination show of Prime Minister.

All the measures taken by Government to fight swine-flu epidemy Mr. Yushchenko qualified as ‘collapse’. ‘The main center of the decision-making shall be the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine’, he declared. ‘Non-obedience to its decisions will be followed by the immediate reaction of the law-enforcement bodies’. It looks like a first step to the transfer of all the controls to the National Security and Defense Council, experts say.

Let me remind that the President chairs the Security&Defence Council.

Among politicians accused in ignorant attitude to the killing virus the fastest appeared to be Volodymyr Lytvyn, the Chairman of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. About two hours ago he gave a following comment during a television show: ‘…all are guilty except him… President and Prime Minister were informed on the flu epidemy a couple of weeks before. Why Parliament didn’t know about that?... Because our security agencies are privatized’.

Meanwhile, we’ve got the first A/H1N1 death in the capital of Ukraine Kyiv. Kyiv City Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky has appealed to Yulia Tymoshenko today with the request to announce quarantine in Kyiv. According to the Kyiv City Administration, more than 26 thousand of Kyivites are sick with acute respiratory viral infections as of 4th November 2009. Epidemic threshold is overpassed on 14%.

86 people are killed by the flu epidemy in Ukraine (Health Ministry of Ukraine, 4/11/2009).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

World Health Organization: Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Ukraine - update 1

Sorry, have no time to comment - just a Ctrl-Copy-Ctrl-Paste of a first press release of mission of the World Health Organization, arrived to Kyiv yesterday night. (bold accents are mine)

3 November 2009 -- According to the Ministry of Health of the Ukraine, the country has now recorded more than 250,000 cases of influenza-like illness, with 235 patients requiring intensive care. As of 2 November, 70 deaths from acute respiratory illness have been reported.

Regions in western Ukraine continue to show the highest rates of acute respiratory illness/influenza-like illness. The level of activity in the Kyiv area is also increasing rapidly.

Laboratory testing in Ukraine has confirmed pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in samples taken from patients in two of the most affected regions. As the pandemic virus has rapidly become the dominant influenza strain worldwide, it can be assumed that most cases of influenza in Ukraine are caused by the H1N1 virus.

As elsewhere, WHO strongly recommends early treatment with the antiviral drugs, oseltamivir or zanamivir, for patients who meet treatment criteria, even in the absence of a positive laboratory test confirming H1N1 infection.

At the request of the government, a multi-disciplinary team of nine experts has been deployed by WHO and arrived in Kyiv yesterday evening. Discussions with the Minister of Health were held this morning to brief the team.

Team members will now begin field investigations to characterize the clinical and epidemiological features of the outbreak. Work will initially begin in Lviv region, where reported numbers of cases showing severe manifestations of acute respiratory illness have been especially high. Two virologists on the team have started working at the National Influenza Centre and the laboratories of the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Kyiv to provide diagnostic support.

Samples sent by the Ministry of Health were received today by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Mill Hill in London, UK. The laboratory will conduct confirmatory tests and further characterize the virus.

Many questions remain to be answered. The outbreak in Ukraine may be indicative of how the virus can behave in the northern hemisphere during the winter season, particularly in health care settings typically found in Eastern Europe.

Given the potential significance of this outbreak as an early warning signal, WHO commends the government of Ukraine for its transparent reporting and open sharing of samples.

WHO continues to recommend no closing of borders and no restrictions on international travel, including to Ukraine. Experience shows that such measures will not stop further spread of the virus.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ukrainian Masquerade. The Government of Ukraine gave 6 million meters of gauze from the strategic country reserves to make protective face masks.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has decided to give 6 million meters of the gauze, keeped for the use during the extraordinary situations like war, to make face masks for Ukrainians to protect them from the A/H1/N1 bacteria in public places. On the photos women from one of the Chernivtsi clothes factory are sewing new masks for the medical personnel.

My personal impressions about all the H1N1 stuff: I may confirm that there are no medical masks in Kyiv drug stores since Friday. Personally I was wearing a mask in metro today. A lot of people are doing the same. Very thrilling, I may say, and destructive for maquillage.

But, frankly speaking, it seems to me that the swine-flu-panic is more political than medical phenomenon. To be continued.