10:30 | 16/ 04/ 2009
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, April 16 (RIA Novosti) -
The death of a Chinese woman on a Moscow-bound train could have been the result of her neglecting to treat pneumonia, a spokesman for the Russian sanitary watchdog said on Thursday.
The Chinese woman died on Wednesday while traveling on a train from the Far East Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. She was accompanied by her husband, mother and father, who all had slight temperatures.
"She had been ill since April 11, underwent no treatment and may have died of double pneumonia. It was a neglected disease, we cannot speak of a sudden death here," he said.
Initial reports said the Chinese migrant, 23, could have died from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a deadly respiratory disease that can be spread through the air.
The train was stopped at the Zuyevka station in central Russia's Kirov Region, where 52 Chinese passengers and seven Russians were sent to a local hospital.
"All of the people who were delivered yesterday are in the hospital. Their health state is satisfactory," a hospital source said without giving further details.
The carriage in which the woman was travelling was decoupled from the rest of the train, which then continued on its way to the capital. The train arrived in north Moscow's Yaroslavl train terminal early on Thursday with a one-hour delay.
Sanitary cordons have been established in Russia's Far East to prevent the spread of the disease. Security measures have been tightened to control the entry of Chinese citizens into Russia. All the passengers must pass a medical examination before they are allowed to travel.
The first case of SARS was reported in China in November 2002 and some 800 people died of the disease in the following months. In July 2003, the World Health Organization reported that the disease had been contained. The mortality rate for the virus is approximately 4%.