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Pneumonia outbreak hits eastern Finland

Villages near Finland's eastern border have been hit by an outbreak of pneumonia, with some 50 people known to have been infected so far.

Nainen yskii nenäliinaan.
File photo. Image: Arja Lento / Yle

An outbreak of pneumonia on the eastern border is thought to be caused by the mycoplasma bacteria. The outbreak has infected some 50 people in and around Virolahti.

Local nurse Paula Kurronen says that new cases are reported every week.

"At first it was just school-age kids, but later the infection was spotted in younger and older patients," said Kurronen.

Kurronen said that the outbreak slowed a little during the autumn half-term school holiday, but then picked up again. In the end she fell sick too.

"I have treated a lot of patients and in the end apparently I caught the disease myself," said Kurronen. "I'm a healthy person and I haven't had any kinds of illness for decades. This is a serious illness, it's nothing compared to a cold."

The first patients were treated in hospital, but once mycoplasma was identified as the cause a course of antibiotics was deemed sufficient to treat patients. Kurronen recommends regular hand washing as a key preventative measure for the disease, and to turn away from other people when coughing.

A mycoplasma infection, also known as walking- or atypical pneumonia, can cause symptoms such as fever, cough, bronchitis, sore throat, headache and tiredness. The condition is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and results from a chest x-ray of the patient.

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