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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Here Comes Typhoid

The Moscow Times reports that G-8 Russia is now facing outbreaks of typhoid, a classic third-world malady:

Sixty-seven cadets from St. Petersburg's Mozhaisky Military Space Academy have been diagnosed with typhoid fever after 286 in total were hospitalized with food poisoning, Interfax reported Monday. All the cadets are in stable condition, and the Defense Ministry is on top of the situation, Alexei Kuznetsov, a spokesman for the Space Forces, told Interfax.

Kuznetsov said that 286 cadets were admitted to the 442nd District Military Hospital several days ago, and that salmonella poisoning had been confirmed in 57 cases. The outbreak began last week, when one of the cadets felt unwell and was immediately hospitalized. Soon 166 cadets were rushed to the hospital with a suspected "infectious disease. All the cadets eat in the same canteen, which has been identified as the source of the poisoning, the St. Petersburg-based Fonatanka.ru news portal reported Monday.

A mass poisoning of this type "is an extreme case for the entire military, not just the academy or the Space Forces," General Igor Puzanov, commander of the Leningrad Military District, told Interfax on Monday. The academy cancelled its contract with Business-Torg, the company that had recently won a tender to provide catering services to the academy, Kuznetsov said. Puzanov said the idea of having a private company cater a military installation was sound, but "in this case violations were allowed to occur."

Elsewhere in the cityk, a market in northern Moscow was closed Monday after a Tajik worker there was diagnosed with typhoid fever, Interfax reported. The unnamed worker, who called emergency services on Sept. 28, was diagnosed Wednesday with the disease, which is transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces from an infected person and can be fatal. Twelve people who had come into contact with the man have also been hospitalized with similar symptoms, according to Moscow's chief health inspector, Nikolai Filatov. Specialists checking the market Saturday found a number of health and safety violations, Filatov said. Evidence collected from the market was sent Monday to a city court, which may decide to close the market for the rest of the year, Filatov said, Interfax reported.

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