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5 February 2019, 12:31

Society

Kiev downplays measles epidemic - LPR doctor

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LUGANSK, February 5 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Ukrainian authorities refusal to announce a measles epidemic despite a high infection rate and deaths is an absolutely political decision, chief doctor of the Lugansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Service (SES) Dmitriy Dokashenko told the Lugansk Media Centre.

Dokashenko made the statement in comments on the Ukrainian Health Care Ministry report on the measles situation in the country published on Monday. According to Ukrainian statistics, 15,095 people including 8,731 children contacted measles in Ukraine in the period from December 28, 2018 to February 1, 2019. As many as 3,379 new cases were reported last week, including 1,1880 among children. A few days earlier, Ukrainian Health Care Minister Ulyana Suprun said that Ukraine would not announce a measles epidemic.

“The measles epidemic announcement has to do with the state’s welfare policies. If the government declares provision of medical services as the Constitution states, this assistance has to be provided,” Dokashenko said.

“Such assistance is no longer available in Ukraine given its current situation. If you cannot provide this aid to the population, you have to minimise the problem. That is why Suprun is telling everybody that there is nothing to be afraid of and promotes self therapy and self diagnosing.

Dokashenko said that the Lugansk People’s Republic, unlike Ukraine, is not keeping silent on the problem.

“We caution against self-curing and urge to seek medical assistance. That is why Ukraine has this outrageous fact of measles mortality rate. It has not happened since the time of the Soviet Union when measles-related deaths were nonsense; at present, such cases are recorded across Ukraine, from Odessa to western regions,” the chief doctor said.

“Given the border situation in the Ukrainian territory, the migration of adults and children and the New Year holidays, we now have part of people sick with measles in the LPR,” he said.

As of February 3, we had 47 measles cases. It is a small percentage. Most of the patients are in Lugansk; Krasnodon reported two such cases and Sverdlovsk and Slavyanoserbsk reported one each.

At present the LPR Health Care Ministry is doing everything to prevent the spreading of the highly infectious disease. It gets everybody by airborne transmission within a 20-metre radius of the contact, especially indoors, the doctor said.

“If we suspect measles, the SES is urgently notified, and a probe is conducted in the nidus of the infection to identify possible contacts. All contacts under 30 years of age are offered vaccination, while the older groups are recommended immunisation using immunoglobulin at the Republic’s blood transfusion centre. Hopefully, these measures will prevent the disease in the Republic,” Dokashenko said.

In late January, Lugansk’s children’s immunologist Valentina Bondareniko said that residents of Kiev-held areas could have their children vaccinated against measles free of charge in the LPR.

LPR medical centres, unlike their Ukrainian counterparts, are well-stocked with vaccines with measles immunisation ongoing, Dokashenko said.

LPR Health Care Minister Natalia Paschenko recommended residents to reduce the contact with people living in Kiev-held parts of the Lugansk region as well as with Ukrainian servicemen living in the epidemic areas.

LuganskMediaCentre — 05 February — Lugansk