The Chief Sanitary Doctor Russia, Prof. Gennady Onischenko, believes that Russia will not face a major epidemic of influenza and respiratory infections this year.
According to the World Health Organisation, over the past period of 2003, there has not been information about wide spread of the flu in the European countries, Onischenko stressed. At the same time, the number of cases of A(H3N2) flu increased in Hong Kong and Egypt and those of B group virus - in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Finland.
As for Russia, the epidemic rise of the flu rate has been registered in Omsk (Siberia). The epidemic threshold was passed there within the year's first week, Onischenko said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta to be published Tuesday.
Those who caught the flu in Omsk have A (H3N2) virus. It means, Chief Health-Officer stressed, that the rumour of a new flu strain disseminated by some media is ungrounded.
According to his estimation, the epidemic rise will last in Omsk for another week.
An insignificant growth of sickness rate is being observed in Chelyabinsk (Urals), Rostov-on-Don (Russia's South), Murmansk (Kola peninsula), Magadan (Far East). The epidemic threshold among schoolchildren has been passed there.
Altogether, 388,836 flu cases have been registered in Russia over the past period of January 2003. A total of 423 people (including 302 children) were hospitalised.
No lethal outcomes were registered, Onischenko pointed out.
According to him, aggravation of the epidemic situation can be expected in Russia in the coming weeks, especially as the weather in many cities is favourable for the flu and winter holidays are over in schools.
At the same time, the epidemic rise started this year quite late, and no widespread epidemic should be expected, the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia underlined.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.