Ukraine bans public events

There has been an outbreak of some kind of flu in Ukraine; 67 people have died and 255,000 are infected. Around 22 people tested positive for swine flu, but it's hard to tell whether the H1N1 virus is responsible for all the cases.

Because of the flu outbreak, the government of Ukraine closed schools and banned public events. Many drugstores in cities like Kiev and Lviv ran out of protective masks, antivirals, and flu remedies. The streets of Lviv were empty; museums, restaurants and stores were closed.

Since they can't get flu remedies from pharmacies, “people are relying on folk remedies like onion and garlic,” a Ukrainian doctor said. Garlic and lemons, used as a flu remedy, have become scarce in central Ukraine. The price of a kilogram of lemons there has quadrupled.

Around 15,000 people are being treated at hospitals across Ukraine. Other countries are helping Ukraine, who asked for anti-flu drugs and protective masks.

According to the World Health Organization, the H1N1 virus has infected at least 440,000 people and killed over 5,700 since it was discovered in April. The WHO estimates that seasonal flu causes up to 500,000 deaths a year.

According to Oxford, it’s not likely for the virus to have mutated and become more deadly. Statistics show that the severe cases and deaths in Ukraine were among adults between 20 and 50.

The U.K. had a death rate of 0.03 percent, according to the Health Protection Agency. Ukraine’s statistics are about the same. Bulgaria also responded to their own flu epidemic with closing schools and banning gatherings.

Source: Choursina, Kateryna. "Ukraine Mystery Outbreak Sparks WHO Concern as Disease Spreads." News. 2 Nov 2009.