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Covid Cases Increasing in Finland, Influenza Peak Expected After New Year


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Several different viruses are circulating and causing respiratory infections in Finland at the moment, the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported in a press release on Friday.

It said that infections are being caused by coronavirus, influenza, rhinovirus, adenovirus and RSV.

Meanwhile, infections caused by pneumococcus bacteria can also cause respiratory infections.

The overall load carried by hospitals treating such illnesses is normal for this time of year, according to THL’s chief physician, Tuija Leino.

But, it remains unclear what the situation will look like at the end of the year, in terms of peaks in Covid cases and other virus-borne diseases, she said in the release.

At the moment, coronavirus infections in Finland are rising. This autumn the dominant coronavirus strain is the variant EG.5. However, the health agency noted that the coronavirus variants currently circulating are very similar to one another and, according to current information, do not differ much in terms of the severity of illness they cause.

Epidemics of RSV and influenza have not started in Finland yet, but the agency said that some cases have appeared in its infectious diseases register. THL anticipates an increase in such infections at the beginning of the new year.

Home tests may not tell whole story

People may have trouble differentiating which respiratory illness they have, as Influenza, colds and Covid cases cannot be distinguished from each other based on symptoms alone, the agency pointed out.

All three illnesses can cause mild to severe symptoms of sore throat, runny nose, cough and fever, for example.

People can still use home testing kits to see if they have Covid, but they should treat the results with caution, according to THL lead expert, Niina Ikonen.

The tests are most reliable during epidemics, she said, when the virus is heavily circulating in the population. Home antigen tests are best able to detect infection a few days after the onset of symptoms.

“A negative test result is not a certain signal that a virus has not been detected,” she said in the release.

It is important, Ikonen added, for people with symptoms to treat their illnesses at home and avoid contact with others as much as possible.

Source: Yle

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