School in swine flu jab drive after young girl dies

Medical authorities in Haparanda in northern Sweden have begun vaccinating all pupils at a school in the town following the swine flu-related death of an 8-year-old Finnish girl.

School in swine flu jab drive after young girl dies

“We have re-prioritized, since there is a great deal of concern at the school,” Elisabet Merefält, operational manager at Haparanda clinic, told news agency TT.

“The idea was that the school would get its vaccinations a few weeks later but now we’re going to start today,” she added.

The girl lived in Tornio (Torneå) in Finnish Lapland, but went to school with one of her siblings across the border in Haparanda in the far north of Sweden.

A total of 160 pupils and 60 members of staff are to receive the swine flu vaccine at Gränsskolan (The Border School).

The girl died in her home on Monday evening. According to the Finnish ministry, she did not belong to any of the groups considered most at risk of contracting the virus.

The 8-year-old was the second person to die in Finland of a swine flu-related illness.

“We do not yet know whether swine flu was the direct cause of death. As I understand it, an autopsy will be carried out on the girl to find out more,” said Norrbotten county medical officer Anders Lund.

A memorial service is to be held for the girl at Haparanda Church on Wednesday.

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Sweden to put up signs warning against swine flu

Fear is increasing in Sweden that the African swine flu virus could spread to the Scandinavian country.

Sweden to put up signs warning against swine flu
File photo: Ingvar Karmhed / Svd / TT

The county administration in Uppsala wants all municipalities in the area to put up signs warning of the risk of infection in the area, P4 Uppland reports.

“We have received instruction from the Swedish Board of Agriculture to inform municipalities about putting up signs at barbecue areas, picnic areas and bathing areas,” Mira Amin, a veterinarian employed by the county, told the radio station.

Signs in six languages will inform the public that leftovers should be thrown into the correct receptacles, and not left out so that pigs and wild boar can get to them.

African swine fever is not dangerous to humans, but can be lethal to boar and domestic pigs. The disease can be transmitted via food such as smoked sausage or ham, according to the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that signs will also be placed at layby and rest areas on major roadways in southern parts of the country, where wild boar are known to roam.

The Swedish measure does not go as far as in neighbouring Denmark, however.

Copenhagen made the decision last year to erect a 70 kilometre-long fence along Denmark’s border with Germany to protect itself against the disease, despite experts questioning the effectivity of such a barrier.

READ ALSO: Sweden introduces new road signs to help non-Swedish speakers