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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Viral Bug Besieges Moscow

It may look like the flu, act like the flu, but it's not the flu, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported Tuesday, citing the arrival of a new epidemic that, according to the paper, has stricken half of Moscow.

This "unknown illness," the Moscow daily reported, is not the seasonal flu, but an intestinal virus that begins with a cold and ends with nausea, diarrhea and vomiting before disappearing from whence it came.

The appearance of this mystery virus came as a surprise to the Health Ministry, said a ministry spokeswoman who read about it in Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Other health officials throughout the city said there was no cause for alarm.

"This is not a new viral infection," said a spokeswoman for Russia's Department of Health and Sanitation. "It occurs every year when the snow starts to melt and bacteria lands in the water supply."

The spokeswoman could not confirm that, as the Moscow daily reported, half the city had already fallen ill, but she said there was no epidemic.

"It's all nonsense," Igor Nadezhdin, a spokesman for the city health department said Tuesday. "This is a very common virus that shows up seasonally. There is nothing to worry about."

Nadezhdin added that 1,500 Muscovites were struck last week by the virus, which lasts about three days.