Health officials sought to assure the public on Tuesday that the first two confirmed cases of A(H1N1) influenza in Finland are not a cause for major concern.
The young man and woman who came down with the disease soon after returning from a two-week trip to Mexico are convalescing in isolation at home. Tapani Melkas of the Ministry of social Affairs and Health says that the disease has been mild in Western countries, and Finland is well prepared to deal with the outbreak.
The strain of the virus increasingly appears to be less dangerous than initially feared. In its current form it resembles a normal seasonal flu, says Research Professor Petri Ruutu of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Those who come down with the virus are urged to stay at home for a week after the onset of symptoms. According to a set of instructions put out by health officials, surfaces should be wiped clean daily, and objects used by the patient should be washed.
A person with symptoms should stay inside a room whose door is kept shut. If the person needs to go out, the nose and mouth should be covered with a handkerchief or a protective mask.
People who have been in contact with the isolated patient can bring him or her food.
Passengers on KLM flight 1161 from Amsterdam to Helsinki on May 6th are advised to seek medical treatment if they notice any flu symptoms within a week of the flight.
Also getting instructions on the aftermath of the outbreak was the Kerava unit of the Laurea University of Applied Sciences. One of the two who caught the disease attended classes there on Thursday and Friday last week before coming down with symptoms.
Students and staff were advised on Tuesday to keep their hands clean and to watch out for possible symptoms.
It is likely that more imported cases will come to Finland, THL influenza laboratory director Thedi Ziegler.
Two other patients with symptoms indicating possible infection with the virus are under observation in Central Ostrobothnia and North Savo.
A student from the Kokkola region showed symptoms similar to H1N1 after returning home from New York.
A patient from Kuopio, who had flown on the same flight with the confirmed cases went to see a doctor because of symptoms suggesting possible infection.