Swine flu has spread into the political arena in Ukraine.President Viktor Yushchenko has accused opponents running against him in a January presidential election, of criminal negligence in the way they have handled an outbreak of swine flu. And there is a shortage of available face masks in the country, according to two pharmacy customers: “I have the flu but I do not know what type. They did not do any tests on me, but I’m fine. I hope I do not infect anybody.” “They promised to bring in anti-viral medicines, but warehouses are empty. Do you have facial masks? No, we do not have any.”
The search for facial masks and medicine has prompted some Ukrainians to cross the border into Hungary. Since mid-October, more than 80 people have died since of the flu and other respiratory illnesses. The World Health Organization says it assumes most flu cases in Ukraine have been caused by the H1N1 virus.President Yushchenko claims his arch rivals, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former premier Viktor Yanukovich, were aware of a flu epidemic when they organized mass rallies to support their presidential campaigns. He has asked the General Prosecutor’s Office to open a criminal investigation into negligence among top government members.