November 12, 2009
November 12, 2009
|Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko wears a protective mask as she visits a hospital in Ivano-Frankivsk November 3, 2009.|
On October 30th,”2009 editors of local papers in Kyiv, Ukraine received a flood of phone calls from citizens reporting low flying aircraftspraying an unknown aerosolized substance over L’viv, Ternopil and other cities. On October 27th”the Ukrainian media broke the story that on October 26th”in Ternopil an unknown flu had killed seven people , and that over the past few days about 6 thousand people had sought out medical attention in regards to flu like symptoms. From this first report through to the 9th”of November over 1 million people inside the Ukraine people have contracted some form of flu like illness. This is almost double the number of ‘confirmed’ H1N1 cases worldwide in all other countries. There have also been over 155 deaths reported due to influenza during this time. This outbreak is unprecedented yet it has received . It just seemed to get lost amidst all of the swine flu coverage, and written off as just more cases of H1N1 before any lab samples had been processed. In the Ukrainian and”Russian media however the outbreak has been treated more seriously and has been referred to as ‘pneumonic plague’. On October 29th”a report came out of Ukraine describing the deaths of 6 young people in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. After the autopsies were performed it was recorded that the cause of death in these individuals was “severe hemorrhagic pneumonia”. Also unconfirmed reports from bloggers in the Western Ukraine that doctors were seeing that this was a new form a flu that killed much faster than the regular H1N1 virus. “Soon Ukrainians started to panic, and the stores emptied of masks and all forms of flu medication. Even onions, garlic, and lemons became scarce in so me cities. As a countermeasure to this outbreak 9 Oblasts (cities) were placed under quarantine by the government. The WHO sent a team of experts to take samples of this new flu and send them back to the Mill Hill lab in London to determine the gene sequences of this flu, and to discover if this was in fact the same Californian/Mexican A/H1N1 virus. “On November 3rd”the WHO announced that the samples had been received at Mill Hill, yet almost a week later there have been no reports issued and no gene sequence data released. If these were typical samples it seems that an announcement would have been made already. “The silence is deafening. It should also be noted that rumors of the doctors being told not to disseminate any information about the new flu cases that would incite any panic, were later confirmed by statements made by the Ukrainian government that police have been told to confiscate hospital reports on patients who have recently contracted the flu.” All things considered, it would not be a surprise if this unidentified virus turned out to be far more serious than the mild A/H1N1 circulating the globe.