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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Has SARS Reached Ukraine?

Passengers of train that arrived in Ukraine suspected of SARS infection
Three Ukrainians and one Azerbaijanian were taken to hospital with symptoms of a disease resembling SARS. The people were passengers of a train #53 going from Vladivostok to Kharkov that crossed the Russia-Ukraine border Wednesday evening.

Earlier, Russian and Ukrainian mass media reported that more passengers from the train on suspicion of being hit with SARS had been already sent to hospitals in the Russian cities of Krasnoyarsk and Omsk (other sources reported the cities of Omsk and Novosibirsk). Those were three ex-servicemen who served on the Russian-Chinese border. As they served in the close vicinity of the SARS epicenter, it is not ruled out that they could catch the disease. Ukraine was ready for receiving the "atypical pneumonia train". There were 70 infectionists equipped with special protection facilities waiting for the train's arrival right on the border. They detected four (other mass media report three people) passengers with high temperature and signs of the atypical respiratory disease.  

The Observer news agency reports that one of the diseased worked as a cook in the dining-car of the train #53. The people underwent a test for atypical pneumonia and were taken to a regional hospital. The train was disinfected. When the train reached Kharkov, all passengers checked in and were let go. It is said that special cards will be sent to the permanent addresses of the passengers for further control over their health.

Passengers of the ill-fated train will be finally diagnosed not earlier than in ten days, such is the SARS delitescence. The whole personnel of the train were put in quarantine. Ukraine is not ready for a SARS epidemic; Ukrainian doctors admit they are not equipped to diagnose SARS accurately.

The problem is getting more serious because of lack of financing. Ukraine First Vice Premier Nikolay Azarov says that if the virus gets in Ukraine, the country will suffer billions of losses. In the words of Nikolay Azarov, urgent measures must be taken to prevent penetration of the virus in the country. For the time being, the Ukraine Health Ministry issued a booklet on preventive measures that are to be taken after contacting people who might be SARS infected.

Prophylactic measures have been strengthened only in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, where one patient suspected of SARS infection was officially registered. It was a businessman who had high temperature after a visit to China. The man was taken to hospital, the diagnose proved to be false.