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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Some 200 Russian service personnel in hospital with pneumonia

RIA Novosti

21/01/2009 12:33 MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - One person has died and some 200 other service personnel have been diagnosed with pneumonia in Russia's Kaliningrad and Volga-Urals military districts, a senior military official said on Wednesday.

"One hundred and six people diagnosed with pneumonia are in hospitals in Yelan and Yekatrinburg [in the Urals], with three of them in a serious condition," Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shappo, the head of the Defense Ministry's Chief Military Medical Board, adding that 100 personnel had also been hospitalized with the disease in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.

Shappo said that a 24-year-old serviceman had died in hospital from the disease following complications.

He added that the outbreak in the Urals began on December 20, and was apparently caused by health and safety violations, as well as ineffective disease control.

Shortly before the outbreak soldiers were made to exercise outside their barracks when temperatures had dropped to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).

A criminal case has been launched and a number of military officials have been suspended from duty.

Sanitary checks are due to be carried out at all military units of Russia's Armed Forces to prevent further outbreaks of the disease.

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