The pandemic that shook the Soviet Union

History 26/01/20 Pandemic that shook the Soviet Union

for the First time Soviet Russia was faced with a flu epidemic in 1918-1919, when the planet was raging “Spanish flu”. It is considered the most massive flu pandemic in human history. By may 1918 in Spain, the virus had infected about 8 million people (39% of the population).

According to some reports during the period of 1918-1919 on the planet the virus had infected more than 400 million people, about 100 million were victims of the epidemic. In Soviet Russia from the “Spanish flu” died 3 million people (3.4% of the population). Among the most known victims of the revolutionary Yakov Sverdlov and military engineer Pyotr Kapitsa.

In 1957 and 1959, the Soviet Union swept the two waves of the pandemic Asian flu, the rise in the incidence occurred in may 1957, and by the end of the year in our country was sick with influenza not less than 21 million.

the next time a flu virus struck the Soviet Union in the years 1977-78. The pandemic began in our country, for which he received the name “Russian flu”. The worst thing is that this virus decimated mostly young people under the age of 20 years. In the USSR, statistics of morbidity and mortality from this pandemic was hiding in the world are victims of the “Russian flu” began, at least 300 thousand people.

In the Soviet Union, the plague was considered a relic of the past, although a narrow circle of specialists was aware of all plague epidemics in the USSR. Natural plague focus were often the regions of Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Transcaucasia.

the First plague epidemic in the Soviet Union believe the outbreak of the pneumonic form in the Primorsky Krai in 1921, which came from China. And then she appeared with alarming regularity:

1939 – Moscow; 1945 – South of the Volga-Ural region, Central Asia; 1946 – Caspian sea area, Turkmenistan; 1947-1948 – Astrakhan oblast, Kazakhstan; 1949 – Turkmenistan; 1970 – Elbrus; 1972 – Kalmykia; 1975 – Dagestan; 1980 – Caspian area; 1981 – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. And this is not a complete list of plague epidemics in the USSR.

Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union came to light statistics. From 1920 to 1989 swine sick 3639 people, the victims were 2060. But before the war, every plague outbreak has claimed hundreds of lives, from the mid-40’s, when they began to use sulfides and bluing, the number of victims was reduced to a few dozen. From the late 50’s started to use streptomycin, thereby reducing the number of deaths to units.

If not for the selfless work of epidemiologists, the casualties could be much higher. Activities of physicians was strictly classified. Employees of the anti-plague service had no right to talk about his work, even loved ones, or fired. About travel specialists often learned only at the airport.

Over time, the country has created a strong network of anti-plague institutions, which successfully operates to this day. Epidemiologists have conducted annual monitoring of natural plague foci, a special laboratory examined strains isolated from the ship’s rats coming in off ships from potentially plague countries.

Civil war, social upheaval, the devastation and famine contributed to the spread in the young Soviet state the causative agents of cholera. Nevertheless, Russian doctors were able to extinguish the most serious outbreaks of this disease. Very soon the leadership of the country has reported that of cholera in the USSR is done.

But in the mid 1960-ies the disease came back again. For the planet it was already the seventh cholera pandemic. Started in 1961 in Indonesia, the infection has spread very quickly around the world. In the USSR the first case of cholera “El tor”, infiltrated with drug traffickers from Afghanistan, was recorded in 1965 in the Uzbek SSR. For the protection of the quarantine zone authorities sent 9,000 soldiers. It seemed that the lesion was isolated.

But in 1970 year, the cholera again manifested itself. 11 July in Batumi cholera Zabolely two students from Central Asia, from which it began to spread to the local population. The doctors believed that the source of infection was at the beach, where blended sewage.

July 27, 1970 the first cases of cholera were recorded in Astrakhan, and July 29, were the first victims of the disease. The situation in Astrakhan began to develop so rapidly that there was forced to fly the chief sanitary doctor of the country Peter Bourgas.

In the Astrakhan region in that year, matured a large crop of melons and tomatoes, however, the movement of barges loaded with products have been blocked to avoid spreading the disease to other regions. Astrakhan took the brunt of a cholera epidemic. Just before the end of the year in the Astrakhan region revealed vibriononositel 1120 and 1270 cholera patients, of which 35 people died.

Major outbreaks of cholera occurred in Nakhichevan, Kherson, Odessa. The decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for all those caught up in the foci of infection, were given paid sick leave. Before you leave the area of infection they all had to go through visual observation and bacteriological examination. For these purposes, used 19 ships, including the flagship – ship “Shota Rustaveli” and “Taras Shevchenko”.

the outbreaks of cholera were shipped 7093 liters cholera vaccine, 2250 kg of dry nutrient media, 52428 liters of liquid nutrient media, millions of packages of tetracycline and a huge amount of chlorine. Through joint efforts, the epidemic has been suspended. The exact number of sick and dead Soviet authorities concealed, but we know that the number of victims was less than 1% in 100 patients.

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