TALLINN - Up to one third of the Estonian population is at risk of catching the swine flu that is now spreading globally, according to deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs Ivi Normet, reports news agency LETA.
Total infections could therefore reach almost 500,000 persons under this risk scenario. This means that under the worst-case scenario, due to the illness, up to 12 percent of the workforce might be absent from their jobs.
Normet stated that at the moment the Health Protection Inspectorate is involved in prevention of the disease. As the patients registered in Estonia have mostly caught the virus while on a trip abroad, most of the awareness-raising efforts are now targeted at travelers.
Director General of the Health Protection Inspectorate Tiiu Aro explained that despite the expansion of the pandemic, the situation is not as serious as it initially appeared. "This is a flu, not a plague," explained Aro, although she noted that the mortality rate of the swine flu is currently 0.6 per cent. "Thus far, anti-viral treatment has been applied," said Aro, when speaking about the treatment options.
Between May 29 and July 27, Estonia has diagnosed 35 cases of patients catching the swine flu. Eleven are currently hospitalised and being treated, but they do not have any serious complications from the virus. The rest of the patients diagnosed have been allowed to go home to be treated.