Turkmenistan denies plague, anthrax cases

July 6, 2004 at 5:45 PM
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ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, July 6 (UPI) -- Turkmenistan authorities have denied that cases of dangerous diseases have appeared in the country, local media reported Tuesday.

The Russian Interfax news agency reported recently a lethal case of plague near Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital. Also, the Russian Vremya Novostei newspaper reported an outbreak of the disease in the northern Kara-Kum desert occurred about a month ago.

Vremya Novostei also reported a lethal case of anthrax near Ashgabat and seven lethal cases of plague in the city of Mary, 200 miles to the east of the capital. However, Germany's International Broadcaster Deutsche Welle said the seven people in Mary had died from anthrax.

Turkmenistan's Anti-Epidemic Emergency Commission, however, quoted in the pro-government, turkmenistan.ru Internet newspaper, said there are no cases of dangerous diseases and the epidemiological situation on the territory of Turkmenistan is safe. The commission said the country is taking steps to prevent the spread of the dangerous diseases from neighboring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan authorities, as reported by ferghana.ru, sent emergency medical teams into border areas near Turkmenistan to prevent outbreaks of plague. Uzbek government officials said no humans have been contaminated in their territory.

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