Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Authorities will be blamed if flu epidemic worsens

Reports in newspapers from Western Ukrainian, where the current epidemic is most serious, describe the near state of panic gripping the local population. This despite Ukraine's government introducing some of the strictest measures in the world to combat swine flu.

For example, in Lviv all shops in which staff are not wearing face masks will be closed from today; and schools have already closed their doors for three weeks. But discos were still open for Halloween parties.

Both 'Vysokiy Zamok' and 'Lvivska Hazeta's' reporters admit to the shortage of diagnostic laboratories in the area, and to a lack of "technological possiblities to gather samples for analysis". Your blogger thinks that the lack of clearcut evidence as to whether the current flu outbreak is swine flu rather than normal seasonal flu is fuelling anxiety, and shortages of antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, which help alleviate the worst effects of illness, is certainly a worry.

'Lvivska Hazeta', in their article entitled: "Inactivity of the authorities is more frightening that the swine flu virus", is already blaming the authorities.

If the epidemic gets worse then those in power will pay a political price - and the blame game has already begun. It doesn't help that the head of the Lviv oblast health administration, Viktor Kimakovych, is taking a holiday in Egypt at as the crisis mounts..

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