Russia’s claims of being relatively unaffected by the swine flu pandemic have been challenged, following allegations made by a virologist who suggested official figures were misleading.
Dmitry Lvov, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Virology, said that the number of cases of the illness may have reached tens of thousands, far more than the 381 reported.
He added that the country had also seen its first H1N1 fatality: "We immediately diagnosed it as swine flu," Lvov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
"We could not take any measures because she died the very next day," he noted.
Russian health authorities responded by refuting the claim and stating that there had been no recorded fatalities caused by the virus in the federation.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s director-general Margaret Chan is expected to call on world leaders to help fund swine flu vaccinations in the developing world.
Ms Chan will discuss the issue during a United Nations meeting on Thursday (September 24th).