Daily Archives: July 23, 2009

09MOSCOW1889, EMBASSY MOSCOW CONFIRMS TWO CASES OF H1N1 FLU, RUSSIA’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1889 2009-07-23 13:48 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4705
OO RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMO #1889 2041348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231348Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4327
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 3310
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 3664
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 5432
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2209
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0416
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5343

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001889 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS 
STATE FOR OES/IHB 
USDA PASS TO APHIS 
HHS PASS TO CDC 
HHS FOR OGHA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: TBIO KFLU PREL SOCI CASC EAGR RS
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MOSCOW CONFIRMS TWO CASES OF H1N1 FLU, RUSSIA'S 
CASES LIKELY UNDERESTIMATED 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY. 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post has confirmed two cases of H1N1 influenza 
within the Embassy community.  Symptoms have been mild, and both 
patients are recovering well.  Aside from these cases, Russian 
health authorities have publicly confirmed 12 cases of H1N1 
throughout the country.  However, this number is almost certainly 
underestimated.  Authorities have not announced contingency plans 
for a wider outbreak except to speculate that schools might open 
later in the season.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (SBU) On July 22, Post received confirmation of two cases of H1N1 
influenza within the Embassy community.  The Walter Reed Army 
Institute of Research analyzed samples from the patients and 
confirmed the H1N1 infection.  Both patients' symptoms have been 
mild, and they are recovering well.  On July 24, the Embassy will 
report its cases to the Federal Service for Consumer Protection and 
Human Welfare Supervision (Rospotrebnadzor), the Russian government 
agency responsible for epidemic response. 
 
3. (U) On July 21, Dr. Gennadiy Onishchenko, Russia's Chief Medical 
Officer and head of Rospotrebnadzor, announced that Russia had 
confirmed a total of 12 cases of H1N1, with several other suspected 
cases under observation.  Onishchenko said that the majority of 
confirmed cases were in travelers arriving from Spain.  He also 
announced that, because of vacation season and the large number of 
tourists travelling abroad, authorities expect the virus to spread 
in the near future.  He ordered that in addition to screening 
arriving passengers on regular airline flights, charter flight 
passengers would also be subject to screening. 
 
4. (SBU) In a July 19 letter to heads of regional Rospotrebnadzor 
branches, Onishchenko ordered that children's summer camps should 
report to Rospotrebnadzor any instance in which five or more cases 
of respiratory illnesses arise at a single camp.  According to the 
letter, every suspected case of H1N1 must be immediately reported to 
Rospotrebnadzor. 
 
5. (SBU) Alexander Kucherenko of Rospotrebnadzor's International 
Affairs Department told us that each Russian region has individually 
determined thresholds for different levels of pandemic response.  He 
did not elaborate on what specific measures the agency would take in 
response to a given rate of infection, nor does the agency specify 
its contingency plans in its publicly available literature.  In his 
latest statement, Onishchenko suggested that in the event of a 
strong rise in infection rates, the government might delay the 
beginning of the school year.  However, he did not define what he 
meant by "a strong rise." 
 
6. (SBU) COMMENT: If Russian public health officials have clearly 
defined contingency plans in the event of a wider H1N1 outbreak, 
they are not sharing them with the public or with the diplomatic 
community.  We do not know whether the government might restrict 
travel or impose curfews.  Post strongly suspects that authorities 
are far under-reporting the infection rate, likely because public 
health officials are directing most attention to inbound travelers 
from abroad. 
 
BEYRLE

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