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Hundreds Ill From Suspected Food Poisoning In Russia

(RFE/RL) September 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Nearly 100 children have been hospitalized in Russia's southern Stavropol Krai with dysentery believed to be caused by food poisoning.

Reporting from the region, RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Lada Ledenyova said 203 children between 1 1/2 and 6 years old have fallen ill. Of them, 97 have been hospitalized.

Olga Yeremenko, the acting chief doctor at the Georgiyevsky district hospital, says medical staff throughout the district are examining the children.

"All the children we've been looking at have been diagnosed with severe intestinal infections," Yeremenko said. "Nearly all of them are in fair condition, closer to satisfactory. There are currently no children in critical condition."

Yeremenko said children in satisfactory condition can receive treatment at home.

Rospotrebnadzor, Russia's consumer-rights watchdog, is investigating claims that the source of the infection was kefir, fermented cow's milk, which had been given to children in local kindergartens.

The chief public health official for Stavropol Krai, Nikolai Kovalyov, told ITAR-TASS that "a number of dairy factories employed people with dysentery" and that a number of facilities had breached rules concerning medial checkups of colleagues.

In mid-August, more than 120 children were hospitalized with dysentery in the town of Blagodarny, also in Stavropol Krai. Health officials have said that the source of that outbreak was a local dairy plant.

RFE/RL Russia Report

RFE/RL Russia Report

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