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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

First Swine Flu Death Reported a Month Late

The first Russian to die after contracting the swine flu virus passed away in a Moscow hospital on Aug. 19, health officials said Monday.

But confusion over what had caused her death apparently prevented officials from announcing that Russia had seen its first death connected to swine flu for more than a month.

The female resident of the Moscow region, who wasn’t identified, was diagnosed with swine flu but died of pneumonia, which she had contracted before the swine flu virus, the Federal Consumer Protection Service said in a statement.

The woman was ill when she returned to Moscow from a vacation in Bulgaria on Aug. 3 and was hospitalized with pneumonia on Aug. 8 in the Moscow region town of Naro-Fominsk, the statement said.

She was transferred to an intensive care unit of a Moscow hospital on Aug. 12, and on Aug. 18 doctors took blood samples to determine whether she had swine flu, it said.

The woman died in a city hospital on Aug. 19, Deputy Health and Social Development Minister Veronika Skvortsova said at a news conference Monday.

The hospital that treated the woman received the results of a blood test confirming swine flu on Aug. 26, the consumer protection service’s statement said.

A commission set up by City Hall’s health department determined that the woman had died from pneumonia, it said.

But Dmitry Lvov, head of the Virology Research Institute, told Rossia state television that researchers at his institute had “immediately” diagnosed the woman with swine flu on Aug. 18 and the virus had killed her.

Repeated calls to Lvov’s office went unanswered Monday.

Lvov said tens of thousands of people in Russia have contracted swine flu — also known as H1N1 — and he planned to provide proof of this claim in about two weeks.

Skvortsova said Monday that 381 people had been officially diagnosed with swine flu in Russia.

About 40 million doses of swine flu vaccine will be produced in Russia by January, Skvortsova said. The first 10 million people to be vaccinated would be workers in the fields of medicine and energy and water supplies, she said.

Another 30 million people will be vaccinated in case of a pandemic, Skvortsova said.

Russia has developed anti-flu medicine that is more effective and cheaper than imported Tamiflu, which has been widely used abroad during the swine flu outbreak, she said. She did not say when or whether it would go on sale in Russian drugstores.

The World Health Organization says the swine flu virus has killed about 3,500 people worldwide, mainly in South America and North America.