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Fifth measles case confirmed in eastern Finland this summer

So far, a total of five cases of the measles virus were diagnosed between the months of June and July. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) confirms that all five cases are of the same virus type – which is good news for virologists.

syöpähoito immunoterapia koeputki laboratorio
Measles is extremely contagious. Image: Yle

The fifth and latest case of a recent string of measles cases in the Savonlinna region was caused by the same virus strain as the others, THL reports on Thursday.

"But this is still good news, because it means no new virus types have appeared in the region," says Mirkaleena Erkkilä from the Eastern Savo health care district. "We'll monitor the situation until mid-August."

The first cases of measles started appearing in June. An Italian national from the Eastern Karelia Folk High School was the first carrier to be diagnosed. The man is suspected to have contracted the virus before arriving from Italy.

The agency says that the small-scale epidemic is not yet over.

Approximately 95 percent of children born in 2014 have received the MMR vaccine, providing protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

However, considering the highly contagious nature of measles, MMR vaccination coverage should be over 95 percent of the population. Currently, the coverage remains under 95 percent for 61 health centres, THL wrote in February.

Erkkilä said he wanted to remind the public to be sure to keep up to date with their innoculations.

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