Russia's chief doctor wants infectious diseases high on G8 agenda

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Infectious diseases should be given as much attention as energy issues at the upcoming summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, Russia's chief doctor said Wednesday.

ST. PETERSBURG, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - Infectious diseases should be given as much attention as energy issues at the upcoming summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, Russia's chief doctor said Wednesday.

"We have managed to convince G8 leaders that the problem of infectious diseases today concerns all of humanity and could impact the course of history at some point or even turn it sharply," Gennady Onishchenko told a news conference in St. Petersburg, the city that will host the G8 summit in July.

He said the problem of preventing and containing communicable diseases had become all the more topical after the emergence of bird flu. The pathogenic virus has now been detected in 54 countries across the world, with 192 human cases reported, including 109 fatalities.

Onishchenko said Russia would propose measures to improve global monitoring of the most prevalent infectious diseases, including those caused by influenza.

HIV/AIDS, polio and measles will also be among the diseases discussed at the G8 summit, he said.

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