Gallery I
Lungs Black As Charcoal
Index Page 2
Index Page 3

New “Super Flu” Reported In Ukraine

By James Donahue

A mystery virus is ravaging the Ukraine and some medical specialists are worried that it has the potential of becoming a world pandemic far worse than the H1N1 influenza.

Or not.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has investigated the virus and declared it to be the H1N1 virus with “no significant mutation.” Some Internet columnists suggest that there is some dark conspiracy going on here and that the WHO is involved in a “cover-up” of facts.

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum this week suggested that the so-called Ukraine outbreak was the result of mass panic brought on by all of the news reports identifying a normal strain of influenza as a dangerous world pandemic. She said the Ukraine government quarantined several provinces, shut down parliament and banned mass gatherings. In the end, it was found that there had been an outbreak of swine flu, people got sick and most of them recovered. Applebaum said the actual death rate from swine flu in the Ukraine was no higher than it was for flu or pneumonia in previous years.

Yet the beat goes on, and not all Ukraine authorities and medical staff appear satisfied with the WHO findings.

Early reports found on Internet blog sites dubbed it the Ukrainian Plague because it has sickened at least a million people and left at least 360 dead as of this date (Nov. 17).

The UK ‘s Daily Mail reported Monday (Nov. 16) that British scientists are examining the strain to see if the H1N1 flu has mutated, or if this is a new virus outbreak altogether. The paper said UK doctors are questioning if it is the H1N1 flu at all, and are “likening this strain to the Spanish flu, which included internal hemorrhage and edema in the lungs.”

The Mail story quoted “an unnamed doctor” in western Ukraine who told of autopsies performed on two of the victims that produced shocking results. “Their lungs are as black as charcoal,” the doctor allegedly said. “They look like they have been burned. It’s terrifying.”

Ukraine Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called upon the European Union to take rapid action to head off the possible spread of this virus. Neighboring Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania are conducting health checks on Ukrainians entering their borders, and Slovakia has closed two of its five border crossings.

President Viktor Yushchenko, who called in WHO, said in a television interview: “People are dying. The epidemic is killing doctors. Unlike similar epidemics in other countries, three causes of serious viral infections came together simultaneously in Ukraine; two seasonal flus and the California flu. Virologists conclude that this combination of infections may produce an even more aggressive new virus as a result of a mutation.”

A report released by Professor Viktor Bachynsky, chief of the Russian bureau of the Chernivtsi regional forensic examination, ruled out bilateral pneumonia as the cause of the deaths, but called it “viral distress syndrome.

He said the virus “is very aggressive, it does not strike the trachea but immediately gets into the lungs and causes heavy swelling and solid hemorrhage.” He said mixed types of para-influenza and influenza A/N1N1 can lead to this state.

He said the virus appears to have the ability to penetrate human mucus membranes and recommends that anyone coming in contact with its victims protect themselves with both surgical masks and eye goggles.