“It was only a matter of time when it would show up here,” said Haraldur Briem, the main epidemiologist working on H1N1 in Iceland, which has now been confirmed in the country. Swine flu came to Iceland from New York; the infected person arrived before the weekend and became ill shortly after. Briem says that the person was not showing any symptoms on arrival and would therefore not have infected anybody else onboard the flight to Iceland.
According to information from epidemiologists, it seems likely four other people are also infected in the capital region and South Iceland. All are believed to be members of the same family.
If nobody else is already infected, it is hoped the illness can be stopped from spreading any further, as it can spread very rapidly if left unchecked.
Swine flu has turned out to be a relatively mild strain of flu. While highly infectious, global deaths have been few and the illness has failed to gain a strong foothold in any European country.
Iceland has enough immunisation medicine for a third of all inhabitants and it is being left to doctors’ discretion who, if anybody, needs to be immunised.
Photo of Haraldur Briem by Heiðar Kristjánsson/mbl.is