May 12, 2009 / 6:37 AM / 10 years ago

Finland has two cases of H1N1 flu

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland has two confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, a health official said Tuesday, the first the Nordic nation has recorded.

“There are 2 confirmed cases,” said Juhani Eskola, deputy director general at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said a young man and woman from the Helsinki area returned to Finland on May 6 after spending a “couple of weeks” in Mexico.

“The patients have been taken care of at home and are doing well. The closest relatives have been contacted and work to contain the possible spread of the (flu) continues,” the ministry said in a statement.

Asko Jarvinen, chief physician at the Helsinki University Central Hospital, told Reuters the risk of spread was not seen high.

“We have contacted close relatives and all have been found healthy,” he said. “We are now trying to establish all ... contacts these young people have had.”

The spread of the flu to Finland follows the first confirmed Nordic cases being found this month in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Finland has previously had a handful of suspected cases stretching from Lapland to the southeastern town of Kotka.

World Health Organization (WHO) laboratories have confirmed 4,694 infections with the new strain of H1N1 flu, which the United Nations agency said on Monday has killed at least 53 people.

Reporting by Brett Young and Yegor Paanukoski, editing by Matthew Jones

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