A case of water contamination in northern Savo has caused more than 400 residents to fall ill, according to estimates by health officials.
The spate of illnesses has been caused by the presence of E-coli—often a cause of infections—and Sapporo virus, which can cause gastroenteritis. The transmission of both microbes can be caused by poor hygiene, particularly failing to wash hands.
Those worst affected have complained of virulent diarrhea, and estimates are that another 400 may be suffering from milder gastro-intestinal disturbances.
“Fortunately, there haven’t been many weak older people affected. In their case it would easily mean a few days in hospital,” said regional care director Martti Pärnänen.
Following a spike in infections during the first phase of the epidemic a few weeks ago, isolated cases have recently been reported by health officials. This suggests that the infections are no longer water-borne, but are being spread by human contact.
Officials say that this is the worst water-borne epidemic since the Nokia water crisis in 2007, when there were more than 9,000 cases reported.
In the last two years, fewer than 100 people have fallen ill due to contaminated water supplies.