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Belarus Reports Almost 1/4 Million Flu Cases
Recombinomics Commentary 23:32
November 10, 2009

The press service of the Gomel regional executive committee BelaPAN reported that in the Gomel region died of pneumonia eight people. Pneumonia was diagnosed in 827 people, including a 643 adults and 184 children.

According to the press service of Belarus continues to rise in the incidence of influenza and acute respiratory infections (ARI). From 2 to 9 November in 18 cities of the republic controls 223,349 registered cases of influenza and ARI. Among the control of cities, the highest incidence rates of influenza and ARI recorded in Rechitsa, Gomel, Mozyr, Molodechno, Mogilev, Vitebsk, Borisov, Minsk, Soligorsk.

In the region from 2 to 9 November diagnosed with influenza and acute respiratory infections (ARI), put 48,752 people, of which the proportion of children was 49% (24051), adults - 51% (24701). Share hospitalized was 2.7% (1,299 people). Among the hospitalized children predominate (60%).

At all administrative territories of the Gomel region introduced a set of preventive measures. In connection with a high incidence in Gomel region on November 9 in 169 schools and three vocational training institutions suspended the learning process.

The above translation describes a significant influenza outbreak in Belarus, which has many similarities with Ukraine.  Eight pneumonia deaths have been reported in Gomel, which is adjacent to the Kiev Oblast in Ukraine (see map).  In the latest report from Ukraine, the largest increases in cases were in Kiev and Kiev Oblast.  In addition, 10 suspect H1N1 deaths in Minsk have been reported suggesting that the deaths may also be linked to H1N1 and hemorrhagic pneumonia.  90 such fatalities were described in Ukraine, and the total disintegration of both lungs is similar to cases described in the United States and Mexico, as well as cases in 1918.

The cases in Belarus are widespread and the numbers cited for Gomel would be above the epidemic threshold.  Most areas in Ukraine are also above the epidemic threshold, while the remaining areas are near the threshold.

These high rates are driven by H1N1 because levels of other seasonal flu's throughout Europe and North America are negligible.  Well over 99% of sub-typed flu is swine H1N1.

The deaths in Belarus and Ukraine raise concerns that there have been small genetic changes in the virus position 225.  These changes (D225G, D225N, and D225E) have been reported in multiple swine H1N1 isolates, including recent isolates from fatal cases in Sau Paulo, Brazil.

The expanding number of cases and fatalities increases concerns created by the delay in the release of H1N1 sequences from Ukraine

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