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Flu Hits Epidemic Levels in Moscow
Winter flu levels have taken their toll and the rate of infection is now at epidemic levels among children under the age of 14, according to the latest figures from Moscow's health ministry, Rospotrebnadzor. Among adults, the infection rate is currently below epidemic levels, but rising.
The figures show that almost 10,000 people are currently suffering from flu in Moscow, over half of them children, and that 709 children and 278 adults were hospitalized last month. "The epidemic threshold is considered to be exceeded if there are 1,317 registered cases of sickness, among both children and adults, per 100,000 of the population," Rospotrebnadzor announced. Thus, if 1 percent of the city's population is infected it is classified as an epidemic.
Among children aged 3 - 6 the epidemic threshold has been exceeded by 59.5 percent, among children aged 7 - 14 it has been exceeded by 27.7 percent. Adults fare somewhat better, and overall the city's population is 6.8 percent below the crucial point.
Doctors consider vaccination to be the most effective means of fighting flu, and schools regularly run vaccination programs. Adults can be inoculated year round at GPs' clinics or polikliniky. Modern vaccines contain no live viruses and so are considered safe but are only effective if boosted annually. "These vaccines can be used on all age groups including infants of 6 months and older," a source in the Sanitation and Epidomological Control Service for Moscow told The Moscow News.
If vaccination is impossible or unwanted, then it is possible to bolster your body's natural defenses with daily doses of vitamin C. Berries such as bilberries, cowberries and cranberries, as well as citric fruits, contain vitamin C and so are good ways to stave off flu.
"Neither antibiotics nor sulfanilamide preparations work against the flu virus," the source said. "The unnecessary use of antibiotics leads to allergies, disbacteriosis and illnesses which can develop into chronic conditions." He urged consultation with a doctor before trying any medicine for flu.
Russia registers between 27.3 and 41.2 million cases of flu each year. Flu epidemics occur somewhere in the world every year and affect 15 percent of the world's population.