Kyiv, February 2, 2016. “On the fourth week of 2016, figures pertaining to flu cases exceeded the ‘epidemic’ level in 19 regions and in Kyiv. In 11 regions the level has been exceeded by over than 50%, in five Ukraine’s regions the epidemic level has not been reached, in eight regions we are observing a tendency for decrease of flu cases,” said Ihor Perehynets, Deputy Health Minister of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He said since the start of flu season on September 28 over 3,2 million cases of flu and cold (ARVI) have been registered so far, that refers to approximately 8,3 percent of the population. 62.2% of those who got sick are children under 17. Over the last week a considerable decrease of the flu rate among children is being observed. “The highest flu rate is observed among the residents of Kyiv region and in Kyiv City where 14 percent and 12 percent respectively have suffered from flu. The lowest number of cases has been registered in Zakarpatska region – 5,2 percent and in Kharkiv region – 3,6 percent,” said Perehynets.
A total of 129 thousand people with preliminary diagnosis “flu or ARVI” have been hospitalized since the start of flu season across Ukraine, it is about four percent of all cases. 67% of them are children under 17, noted the Deputy Health Minister. “Since flu season started 176 laboratory-tested lethal flu cases have been registered, two of them are in children under 17 and one case was a pregnant woman. Among the identified viruses 22 lethal cases have been caused by virus A, two cases by virus B while 122 cases were caused by the H1N1 virus which is especially dangerous,” noted Perehynets. The highest number of lethal cases has been registered in Odesa region – 34, in Vinnytsia – 13, in Zaporizhzhia – 12, in Rivne – 11 and in the city of Kyiv – 11. Only one third of those who died from flu went for medical aid in time, the Deputy Health Minister noted.
“Among those who later died, 36 percent turned for medical help on the third day of illness, 25 percent on the fourth day, about 40 percent on the sixth day or later,” said Lyubov Nekrasova, director of the Ukrainian Center for Control and Monitoring at the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine. She also noted that 71 persons who died were not suffering any chronic diseases and thus were not part of the risk group.
According to Svyatoslav Protas, acting Head of the State sanitary epidemiological service of Ukraine, acting chief state epidemiologist of Ukraine the geography of the flu is changing. “Decrease of the flu rate is observed in Donetsk, Luhansk, Poltava and Rivne regions. On the contrary, the regions that had low flu rates in the beginning of the epidemic season – Lviv, Zakarpatska and Volynska, see the rates increasing,” said Mr Protas. He also said that there is a positive trend on flu rate decrease among the children. “Number of people who are turning to hospital for medical assistance daily has decreased almost three times. Over the week that preceded the last one about 70-90 thousand turned for help, last week the figure was 20-30 thousand persons,” said acting Head of the State sanitary epidemiological service of Ukraine.
Studies were interrupted in 14 thousand educational institutions (70 percent of total) since the start of flu season. Work has restarted in over four thousand academic institutions, said Mr Protas.