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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Typhoid Hits Chechen Village

Dozens of people have caught typhoid in Chechnya, but health officials said Thursday the outbreak was under control.

The first cases of the disease, caused by poor sanitation and contaminated water, were revealed last week in Lermontov-Yurt village in western Chechnya, much of which lies in ruins after heavy fighting.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said the total had risen to 79, and 21 people were hospitalized, including three children.

"This is not an epidemic, it's just a local outbreak," Lyubov Voropayeva, a Health Ministry spokeswoman, said by telephone. "Our specialists are working on site and there is no fear of the disease spreading."

The Health Ministry said the main reason behind the outbreak was damage to the water supply, which prompted residents to take water from irrigation canals, some beside a garbage dump.

Government teams were trying to set up a new system to supply drinking water. The Moscow-based Center for Disaster Medicinehad set up a field hospital with 50 beds in the regional center Achkhoi-Martan.

ORT television showed dozens of elderly people and children lying in ramshackle hospital rooms as doctors complained they lacked medicines.

"I think the situation is highly explosive," Dr. Roza Shorvaniyeva said on ORT. "If organizations of various sorts do not help, by summer we could get outbreaks of other diseases even more dangerous than typhoid."