Thursday, November 05, 2009

What's going on in Kiev with the swine flu?


Kiev, the Ukraine--I got this message in a link from a Facebook friend. Here's the text of the message from the U.S. Embassy in the Ukrainian capital. What's this all about?

Dear Friends and Wardens,

The U.S. Embassy is aware of the disease outbreak being widely reported in Western Ukraine. According to press reports, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that the disease in question is 2009-H1N1 influenza, sometimes referred to as novel H1N1 or swine flu. The Embassy is monitoring the situation and remains in contact with Ukrainian public health authorities responding to it. According to the press, Ukrainian authorities have put several precautionary measures in place. For example, the Embassy understands that the current school vacation will be extended for three weeks; authorities have asked that public gatherings not take place; and pregnant women are being advised to defer non-emergency visits to hospitals where patients suffering from flu-like symptoms are being treated. Additionally, some press reports have said that restrictions limiting the "unnecessary" movement between regions will be in place for the next three weeks, although no details of how officials will determine the urgency of travel have been released. Individuals reporting flu-like symptoms are being advised to limit contact with other people, and, in some cases, are being treated in isolation units at local hospitals. However, public health officials have told the Embassy that as of October 30, no general quarantine is in effect.

If you are quarantined or placed in isolation due to 2009-H1N1 influenza, please contact the Embassy at the number below and let us know, so we can monitor your situation. However, please be aware that the Embassy cannot demand your immediate release if you have been detained or quarantined in accordance with local public health and legal authorities.

Due to legal restrictions and a lack of sufficient resources, the Embassy is not in a position to provide private citizens with pandemic-related supplies, medications or medical treatment, including vaccines, and cannot provide specific medical advice. Questions and concerns about influenza or other illnesses should be directed to a medical professional. A list of local hospitals and doctors can be found on our website at http://kiev.usembassy.gov/amcit_medical_eng.html.

For more information on how to prepare for a severe pandemic, please see the State Department "Pandemic Influenza Fact Sheet" and "Options During a Pandemic" flyer located on www.travel.state.gov. Detailed information about 2009-H1N1 influenza can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/, the U.S. Government’s federal influenza website at http://www.flu.gov, and the World Health Organization website at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html.

U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Ukraine are encouraged to register with the Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/, to obtain updated travel and security information. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the Embassy. Registration is important; it allows the Embassy and the State Department to assist you in an emergency.

The Embassy is located at 10 Yuriy Kotsyubysnky Street in Kyiv. The Consular Section is located at 6 Pymonenko Street. The American Citizen Services telephone number is 38-044-490-4445; the fax number is 38-044-490-4040; the email address is kyivacs@state.gov. For after-hours emergencies, please call 38-044-490-4000.