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7 Jun, 2008 15:37

Doctors say Siberian virus deaths not linked

Doctors believe that the deaths of two children killed by a mystery virus in Siberia are not linked. The infants, who both died in the last fortnight, were friends from the same nursery in Abakan in the Republic of Khakassia.

It was previously feared that the children had become infected with an aggressive enterovirus, which can lead to meningitis. But doctors now say that they believe the cause of death was different in both cases.

Two year old Victoria Plotnikova died from suspected meningitis at the beginning of the month.

Five days earlier, Victoria's best friend, Vladimir Panov, died after being given a similar diagnosis.

39 children from the same nursery were also taken to hospital with infections. Nine of them have now been discharged.

The full results of their analysis will not be known for two more weeks but doctors say their condition is satisfactory. The nursery has been quarantined until June 19.

Charges of negligence could be brought against the nursery’s director. Svetlana Pavina from the investigation committee said: “Criminal charges are being considered against the nursery staff and the doctors in the hospital, because no action was taken to prevent the deaths and to stop the infection.”

Another investigator, Galina Martynova, said: “These two are absolutely independent cases as for the others, none of them is infected and they'll be dismissed from the hospital and be sent back home shortly.”
However, doctors warn that the enterovirus, the most common cause of meningitis and which spreads through close contact, may flare up again – just like it did two years ago. Back then a hundred people picked up a serious infection by a lake.