Monday, 21 August, 2017

Return of measles baffles Finns

03 Aug 2017, 20:56 ( 17 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
DF File Photo.

Finns have been astonished with the return of measles, an almost forgotten contagious disease in the Nordic country.

On Wednesday, a vaccinated person was diagnosed in Tampere, central southern Finland.

Reetta Huttunen, an assistant chief doctor at Tampere University Clinic told national broadcaster Yle the person had been on holiday in Italy.

Huttunen said even vaccinated persons may develop the disease if they are for hours close to a person with active measles. Huttunen urged all travelers to check their vaccinations.

Finnish authorities assured later on Wednesday that Italy is still safe to visit, if vaccinations are valid.

While Finland managed to eradicate measles through national vaccination in the mid 1970s, the disease is still common in some EU countries. This year, the epidemics have been reported in Italy and Romania.

In early July, Finnish authorities resorted to a rare public warning to reach people who had been in contact with an Italian on a cruise ship on the Baltic and on a Finnish train he had used.

The man later fallen sick in the Punkaharju resort area and had been hospitalised in Savonlinna. He returned to Italy, but several people fell sick in the area.

Currently some 95 percent of Finns have either a vaccination against measles or have been infected in the 1950s or 1960s when the disease was still common in Finland.

Specialist Jussi Sane at the National Institute of Health and Wellbeing, told Yle earlier that some people born in the late 1960s or early 1970s may not have been vaccinated and have not been infected either, and they are now in danger of infection during travels in Europe. There has been some antagonism against vaccinations as well.

Sane said that risks of epidemics emerge if less than 90 percent of the population are not vaccinated. Vaccinations are free in Finnish public health centers. 

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