Million Hit By Plague Worse Than Swine
A DEADLY plague could sweep across Europe, doctors fear, after
an outbreak of a virus in Ukraine plunged the country and its
neighbours into a state of panic.
A cocktail of three flu viruses are reported to have mutated
into a single pneumonic plague, which it is believed may be far
more dangerous than swine flu. The death toll has reached 189
and more than 1 million people have been infected, most of them
in the nine regions of Western Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko has called in the World
Health Organisation and a team of nine specialists are carrying
out tests in Kiev and Lviv to identify the virus. Samples have
been sent to London for analysis.
President Yushchenko said: People are dying. The epidemic
is killing doctors. This is absolutely inconceivable in the 21st
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.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been touring hospitals where
victims are being treated and presidential elections in January
could be cancelled .
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 dont believe
its H1N1 swine flu. Neither do we know what kind of pneumonia
Universities, schools and kindergartens have been closed, public
meetings have been banned and theatres shut. Last week several
border crossings in the country were also closed.
Last night reports emerged of profiteering over face masks, which
have sold out since the outbreak. There are also incidents of
anti-virus medication being sold for exorbitant prices. A spokesman
for the World Health Organisation said: We do not have a
time scale for the results of the tests in London, although some
preliminary results have been obtained. I cannot tell you what
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.
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, saying: The
character of this threat demands that rapid action be undertaken
at the European Union level.
Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania, countries that
border Ukraine, have already launched health checks on Ukrainians
entering their territory.
Slovakia has closed two of five border crossings.
A doctor in Western Ukraine who did not want to be named, 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. Its terrifying."
November 15, 2009