In a follow-up on the botulism outbreak in Ukraine this year, health officials announced (computer translated) Tuesday that 76 botulism cases, including eight fatalities have been reported.

Image/Ministry of Health of Ukraine
Image/Ministry of Health of Ukraine

Part of the problem in getting the situation under control was the lack of botulism anti-toxin, which the country hasn’t had in stock since 2014.

The antitoxin is only produced by a few companies worldwide only a few companies and was purchased by the Development Program of the United Nations (UNDP). The high quality Canadian drugs arrived at the airport in Kiev, where they are transferred to the Ministry of Health.

The current supply will form the base stock that will be used for the immediate treatment of new cases to be recorded. Serum will be available as soon as possible if necessary.

Acting Minister of Health Dr. Juliana Suprun said: “Receipt of the botulism antitoxin will help save dozens of patients. We are grateful to our international partners with UNDP that responded to the situation and antitoxin provided as humanitarian aid. But I also urge Ukrainians to guard their health and do not consume food of dubious quality to prevent disease and avoid devastating health consequences”.

Yantomas Himstra, Director of UNDP in Ukraine, said: “UNDP is an old partner of Ukraine on drug procurement. We extended a helping hand to the people and Government of Ukraine, faced with an outbreak of botulism. Our experience in purchasing drugs helped quickly and efficiently procure high antitoxin and we ready to continue our support for Ukrainian ensure the availability of life-saving drugs at any time, the best possible quality at a lower price. “