By Daryna Krasnolutska, Halia Pavliva and Kateryna Choursina
Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Nurses and patients at the town hospital in Chernivstsi, Ukraine, came together in an unusual task today: making their own protective masks.
“We bought gauze, people sat down and stitched the masks for the doctors,” said Oleh Kaminskyi, a doctor who works at the hospital. “Now we’re washing and ironing them.”
Ukraine, battling an outbreak of respiratory disease that’s sickened 478,400 people and killed 81, is struggling with a lack of protective equipment, antiviral drugs and laboratory facilities to confirm whether the H1N1 pandemic virus is causing the disease. Many residents are staying at home and turning to natural remedies such as garlic to ward off the virus.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in an urgent address to the nation today that the country’s flu outbreak is “unique” because three flu strains are spreading at the same time. That increases the risk of mutations of the viruses into a new strain, he said, citing unnamed domestic and foreign experts. The World Health Organization sent a team of scientists and advisers to Ukraine this week to investigate the outbreak.
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