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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

24 Cholera Suspects Get Away From Police at Kursky Station

Twenty-four arrivals from a cholera-struck region escaped from police Friday before they were checked for infection, prompting the Health Department to warn of a possible outbreak of the disease in the capital.

But a senior medical officer dismissed the warning, saying the group was unlikely to be infected since their companions tested negative.

The 24 arrived at Moscow's Kursky station at 6:40 A.M. from Dagestan, the republic in southern Russia where at least 10 people have died from cholera and several hundred have been infected in the past month, according to Vladimir Savko, a press spokesman for the city health department.

Before reaching Moscow, the 24 travelled in a train for about an hour with a woman who was later hospitalized with cholera symptoms near the Dagestani capital Makhachkala.

They escaped into crowds at the Kursky station while police were escorting them to the hospital for cholera checks together with 43 other passengers from the same train cars, Savko said.

However, Lyudmila Rozina, head of the department of especially dangerous infections at the city sanitary control, said the escapees most likely presented no danger and said the Health Department's statement was incompetent.

The 43 who reached the hospitals have tested negative for cholera, Rozina said, adding: "It takes really intimate contacts with an infected person, and these people only spent about an hour with the woman."