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Scores of students under quarantine amid measles scare

An unexpected case of measles disgnosed in one student at a village school in Sammatti, southern Finland has revealed that roughly half of the schools' pupils have not been vaccinated against the disease. Officials have confined about 50 unprotected children to their homes for their own safety. The outbreak was first reported by the tabloid daily Ilta Sanomat.

Henkilö vetää rokotetta ruiskuun.
A small scale measles outbreak at a village school in southern Finland revealed that half of students had not been inoculated against the disease. Image: Yle

The measles infection was diagnosed on Monday. The infected child had been at school for one day before the diagnosis was confirmed. Roughly half of the school's 100-odd students have been not been inoculated against measles. Similarly several young children in a nearby daycare centre have no protection against the disease.

Local health care authorities moved fast to ensure that the roughly 50 unprotected children are not exposed to infection -- they have been put into home quarantine.

"Children who have received two MPR vaccines have been allowed to return to school. The others are at home and have been instructed to avoid public places and visiting other homes," explained Lohja health centre chief medical officer Tanja Nummila.

Vaccines to be offered to children

Nummila said she did not recall such a large scale quarantine order during her entire career in Lohja. The unprotected children will now be actively offered the vaccine and so far ten have already been inoculated.

"I'm satisfied if even some of the children have been able to receive the vaccine. Unfortunately it won't help in this situation, but going forward they will have protection," Nummila added.

The chief physician commended the school on its quick action in addressing the outbreak.

"The school has given the quarantined children work to do at home, so their studies won't be interrupted," she noted.

The children confined to home quarantine will be allowed to return to school on January 28.

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