Fear pervades nation where government is mistrusted, health system is weak


Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 21, 2009


KIEV, UKRAINE — One night at the height of the panic over what people here call the California flu, as 24-hour news stations tracked a rising death toll and politicians speculated about a mystery lung plague, Ukraine’s prime minister rushed to the airport to greet a shipment of Tamiflu as if it were a foreign dignitary. Not to be outdone, the president, a bitter political foe, dispatched a top aide to meet the plane, too.

In neighboring Belarus, the government took an opposite tack, accusing drug companies of fanning hysteria over swine flu to boost profit. In Poland, the health minister is under fire for refusing to stock up on a vaccine, while doctors in Hungary are resisting orders to administer the shot. In Turkmenistan, the authorities have been accused of covering up an epidemic, with infectious-disease wards reportedly full and people being turned away.

As the pandemic H1N1 influenza surges with the onset of winter, the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union appear particularly vulnerable to the deadly virus. Burdened with weak health-care systems, relatively inexperienced news media outlets and shaky governments that have little public trust, the region also seems ripe for panic and political strife over the flu.

full article


•  Flu, respiratory infections kill 362 people, says Health Ministry (Link)
•  No mutated A/H1N1 virus in Ukraine (Link) )
•  Up to 400 deaths reported (Link)


•  Swine Flu: 11 New Cases Confirmed (Link)

•  Report: Glaxo pulling 170,000 H1N1 doses in Canada (Link)

•  Chile denies new wave of A/H1N1 flu outbreak (Link)

•  Don’t hide H1H1 deaths, China warns (Link)
•  GSK To Manufacture Flu Treatment Relenza In China (Link)

Costa Rica
•  Costa Rica confirms 2 more deaths, now 40 dead from H1N1 (Link)

•  A/H1N1 flu deaths rise to 12 (Link)

•  10 new deaths confirmed, total at 553 (Link)
•  Chandigargh has 3 more cases, one doctor included (Link)

•  Kyrgyzstan Braces For Swine-Flu Outbreak (Link)

•  WHO Assesses H1N1 Virus Mutation In Norway  (Link)
•  Mutated H1N1 detected in Norway (Link)

Saudi Arabia
•  Saudi Arabia reports first H1N1 deaths among pilgrims (Link)

•  Kosovo: confirmation of 2nd death from H1N1 (Link)

United Kingdom
•  Drug-Resistant Swine Flu Emerges In Wales  (Link)
•  Drug Resistant H1N1 Found In U.S., Britain  (Link)
•  18 more deaths last week, 180 in intensive care (Link)

United States
•  US: Potential Peak In US Swine Flu Cases (Link)
•  US: Seasonal flu vaccine protects against H1N1: Study (Link)
•  US: Swine Flu Declining in Some Parts of U.S. (Link)
•  AZ: 10th H1N1 death confirmed in Pima County, young child, 103 deaths total Arizona (Link)
•  CA: CT, Ultrasound Equivalent in Pediatric Pneumonia (Link)
•  CA: San Bernardino County 25th death from H1N1 (Link)
•  IA: Iowa confirms 3 more deaths, 24 total  (Link)
•  MA: Adult and a child under age 4 die of swine flu (Link)
•  MD: Maryland reports 11 more deaths from H1N1 total now 30 (Link)
•  OH: Ohio confirms another death in Wood County (Link)

•  Prevalence of Antibodies against Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus among Cullers and Poultry Workers in Ho Chi Minh City, 2005 (Link)

•  CDC: Flu Season Video/Audio Tools (Link)
•  Evolutionary Trends of A(H1N1) Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin Since 1918 (Link)
•  October batch of H1N1 vaccine recalled by manufacturer – GlaxoSmithKline reports side effect dangers (Link)
•  Swine flu vaccine effective despite mutations: experts (Link)

•  New research helps explain why bird flu has not caused a pandemic (Link)

•  Recombinomics: 1918 RBD D225G in Lung Cases in Ukraine and Norway (Link)