Breaking News: Two cases of A(H1N1) swine flu confirmed in capital area on Tuesday
Both patients, recently returned from Mexico, recovering at home
Finnish health officials have reported two confirmed cases of swine flu in the country. A woman and a man living in the Greater Helsinki area, who recently returned from a holiday trip to Mexico, were confirmed on Monday as having contracted the infection.
In both cases the symptoms are mild and the persons in question are being treated at home.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare reported on the cases on Tuesday.
According to the authorities, the man and the woman in question share a household and both are young adults.
The couple returned to Finland on Wednesday of last week via Amsterdam. With one of them the first symptoms appeared on the day of their return flight, and with the other tw days later, on Friday.
The couple contacted the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) on Sunday, and they have been confined to their home since then.
The authorities have urged those who shared the same Wednesday flight from Amsterdam to contact their local health centres should they exhibit any signs of flu. The flight number was KL-1161 and it arrived in Helsinki at 21:45.
The man and the woman who contracted the infection had been on a holiday in Mexico City and Cancun. Apparently there were no other Finns in their group.
According to the Monday update by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), there are now 5,132 confirmed human cases of swine influenza caused by the A(H1N1)-virus in 30 different countries.
The authorities have given an assurance that Finland’s preparedness level in response to the swine flu scare is good, and there is no cause for the general public to become worried.
A “swine flu helpline” that was introduced a week ago has already received hundreds of calls. So far most of the enquiries have related to risks when travelling.
“People may ask, for example, if they can safely send their child to a holiday camp abroad, or if cruises between Finland and Sweden are without risks”, explains Finnish Red Cross worker Riitta Bäckman from the Helsinki-Uusimaa District.
The telephone service’s purpose is to provide answers to general questions regarding the influenza caused by the A(H1N1)-virus, and not questions related to the callers’ immediate state of health.
The telephone service will be in operation at least until the end of this week. The Ministry of Social Services and Health will then decide on the continuation of the programme.
The appearance of confirmed cases of the A(H1N1)-virus comes as no great surprise: health officials have expected it would make landfall here sooner or later. There have been confirmed cases in Sweden and Norway, for example.
All previous suspected cases of the illness in Finland have proved negative.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Swine flu scare spurs demand for masks (30.4.2009)
Male patient in Lapland tested for swine flu (7.5.2009)
Some of Finns quarantined in Hong Kong were on plane with Mexican virus man (4.5.2009)
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
National Institute for Health and Welfare