Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#18- JRL 2009-85 - JRL Home
Expert: 'First Wave of Swine Flu Is Passing and No Longer Threatening Russia'

MOSCOW, 5 May -- RIA Novosti. The first wave of A/H1N1 influenza, which is known as the swine flu, is passing, and it will most likely not reach Russia before October, when the virus receives so-called seasonal support. So believes Oleg Kiselev, director of the Scientific Research Institute for Influenza and academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

"The epidemic has now 'scattered': The first wave is passing and no longer threatening Russians. People should rest easy. This virus does not have seasonal support in our country. It will not spread throughout Russia's territory," Kiselev told RIA Novosti.

In his opinion, the first cases of A/H1N1 influenza could be reported in Russia in October, with the arrival of the first autumn cold spells and rains. First and foremost, children under 3 years of age and older people over 65 years of age will be at risk of infection, as will people with chronic diseases, which may be exacerbated during the influenza infection process.

"In Mexico, young people of working age are now dying of this flu. This is one of the features of a pandemic. The same thing happened in 1918, when young servicemen died. The problem is that in healthy young people, influenza viruses that are particularly pathogenic cause a very strong virus rejection reaction that is connected with the immune response. This reaction is so strong that systemic organ damage develops. In other words, the young organism is less protected than is an areactive elderly person who in fact does not react strongly to infection," the expert explained.

He also noted the existence of occupational risk groups that include workers who are employed on pig farms and poultry farms. Medical personnel, customs workers, pilots, and conductors who come into direct contact with infected individuals can also be infected with the virus.

Kiselev recommends isolating the patient from those around him at the first symptoms of the disease: high temperature, cough, head cold, headache, and muscle aches.

"All family members and co-workers should wear masks if possible. It is best to not take aspirin before seeing a doctor and especially not to treat oneself solely with all kinds of symptom-relieving drugs (from Theraflu and Coldrex to our inexpensive Antigrippin), the academician stated, adding that aspirin is categorically contraindicated in cases of influenza infections.

Kiselev advises that if a child or adult has a high temperature, they should take a paracetamol-based drug. And a physician needs to be called to one's home.

"Influenza is not dangerous when you begin treatment in a timely manner. All the lethal outcomes have been associated primarily with a delayed visit to a physician and delayed provision of medical care. After 3 or 4 days, it is already extremely late. With serious flu, this places physicians in a dead-end because we are talking about rapidly developing pneumonia, respiratory failure, and other sad consequences," the agency spokesperson stated. From the first day of illness, a physician must prescribe antiviral therapy in accordance with the recommendations of the Russian Federation Ministry of Health and Social Development, he added.

"For example, the Mexican and California H1N1 influenza is resistant to rimantadine. Unfortunately, this drug will not work. Other drugs, including arbidol, must then be used. Tamiflu and Relenza are active during the first 3 days. After 3 days, administering these expensive drugs is already useless," the expert noted.

He expressed hope that triazaverin, which was developed by the Scientific Research Institute for Influenza that he heads and has already passed the first phase of clinical trials, will appear by the end of this season or next year.

Kiselev is also recommending inhalation of Ingaron and Alfaron. This could, in his opinion, help stop the infection quickly.

Meanwhile, the academician emphasized that self-treatment is pointless. Preparations prescribed by a physician need to be taken.