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Swine Flu Causes Deaths In Eastern Ukraine

An outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu virus has killed 26 people in the territories currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, Russian news agencies reported on January 22.

The agencies quoted an unidentified representative of the separatists as saying all schools have been closed until January 30 to help curb the number of swine-flu cases.

The Ukrainian Health Ministry confirmed on January 19 that H1N1 has killed 51 people across the country.

Ukrainian Health Minister Aleksandre Kvitashvili urged people not to panic, saying “We haven’t exceeded the epidemic threshold, and every year January is the peak of the flu season.”

Swine flu outbreak has caused deaths in Russia and other former Soviet republics, officials say.

Armenian officials said 18 people had died from swine flu since January 1, where school holidays were prolonged until February 1 and military personnel were ordered not to leave their units due to the outbreak.

Health officials in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, said on January 19 that five local residents died of the H1N1 virus, adding that more than 310 individuals had been hospitalized with symptoms of the disease.

Swine flu deaths were also reported in Georgia and Kazakhstan.

Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Armenian and Russian services

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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