Finland’s flu season spreading slower than expected

Experts say there are regional variations of where influenza is spreading, and that they still expect a peak in March.

File image of someone who is sick & taking medicine / Credit: iStock

It’s that time of year, when it seems like lots of people are falling sick with seasonal influenza.

This year however, the flu epidemic is spreading at a slower rate than usual, although experts warn the peak is still expected in March.

According to the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare THL there’s a lot of influenza at the moment in some parts of the country, while other regions are just seeing moderate levels.

“Influenza has been diagnosed in different parts of Finland and people of all ages, but there are regional differences in influenza activity. At the moment, influenza activity is high in North Karelia with moderate in the rest of Finland” says Niina Ikonen, Senior Specialist at THL.

As of Wednesday more than 65,000 cases of influenza A have been recorded, and 1000 influenza B virus cases recorded.

About 1.1 million doses of the flu vaccine have been administered by public healthcare staff so far this winter.

“Based on our preliminary estimates, the effectiveness of the vaccine is reasonably good for older people and good for children. It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Especially people aged 65 or over and those in the medical risk groups should still be vaccinated” says THL Chief Physician Hanna Nohynek, who specialises in vaccinations.

The flu vaccine is given free to young children and people over 65.