Timely official recognition of outbreaks of foodborne illness is pretty rare in Russia.

But the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing or “Rospotrebndzor” is reporting that salmonella has sickened 21 students and staff at a St. Petersburg school.

Rospotrebndzor reports 17 of the 21 confirmed cases of Salmonella are children, including four who required hospitalization for their illnesses. Most of the children caught up in the Salmonella outbreak are four to six years of age.

The HBDUU kindergarten No. 46 in the Pushkin district of the northwest Russian city is the involved school. Rospotrebndzor is conducting both sanitary and epidemiological investigations.  The Russian food safety officials are questioning staff and collecting samples of raw materials and food productions for laboratory analysis.

Rospotrebndzor confirms that gross violations of both sanitary standards and epidemiological well being are likely.

Salmonella outbreaks are not usual in Russia, and official sources publish historical data. However, officials report on current outbreaks are not that frequent.

Rospotrebndzor has existed since 1922 as Russia’s sanitary and prophylactic institutions. It lasted through the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) era.  And since 2000, Rospotrebndzor has been a department of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation.

It maintains “state control over the observance of norms and rules of trade and public catering, the order of pricing in particular groups of goods, quality and safety of consumer groups, and also activities on eradication of abusive practices in trade, public catering, and prevention of poor quality foods in the consumers market.”

Head of the Federal Service is Anna Y. Popova. She says as of 2014, Rospotrebndzor had 110,000 staff members located in 84 regional offices, including 29 scientific research institutions. Rospotrebndzor also has 12 “Plague Control Stations at the ready along with over 100 “disinfecting organizations.”

It also carries out sanitary and quarantine control at 285 border inspection posts. “International cooperation is deemed to be one of the most important areas of activities of Rospotrebndzor,” Popova says.  And combating infectious diseases is a top Rospotrebndzor priority.

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