Time Zone: +2 hours. Daylight savings time +3 hours GMT.
Tel. Country Code: 358
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug D.
TRAVEL ADVISORY - FINLAND
Europe, Russia and former the Soviet Union countries vary widely in travel risks and adequacy of health care delivery. Water- and food-borne illnesses such as travelers' diarrhea, typhoid and Giardia are threats outside of Western Europe. Insect-transmitted diseases, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis are common in wooded, rural areas in most countries, including Western Europe.
• U.S. Embassy
Itainen Puistotie 14B
Tel:  (9) 171931
Fax:  (9) 652057
• Canadian Embassy
Pohjoisesplanadi 25 B
Tel:  (9) 17-11-41
• British Embassy
It•inen Puistotie 17
Tel:  (9) 2286 5100
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Consular enquiries)
HIV Test: Not required.
Required Vaccinations: None required.
Passport/Visa: Finland is a highly developed democracy with a modern economy. It is a member of the European Union. Tourist facilities are widely available.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required. A visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. That period begins when entering any of the following countries which are parties to the Schengen agreement: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Travelers can contact the Embassy of Finland at 3301 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 298-5800, or the Finnish Consulates General in Los Angeles or New York. Additional information is available via the Internet at http://www.finland.org
VACCINATIONS: RECOMMENDED AND ROUTINE
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all travelers who might be exposed to blood or bodily fluids from unprotected sex with a high-risk partner; from injecting drug use with shared/re-used needles and syringes; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes; from contact with open skin sores. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B virus.
Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.
HOSPITALS / DOCTORS
In Finland, medical facilities and their staff are as a rule excellent and are widely available for emergency services. English is commonly spoken by Finnish medical personnel. Helsinki is a frequent medical evacuation point for emergency cases from the countries of the former Soviet Union. The public hospital system and many private hospitals honor foreign credit cards.
• All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers• diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country•the equivalent drugs may not be available.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals at: http://helsinki.usembassy.gov/acs/medicalinfo.htm
• Helsinki Mehil•inen Hospital
(Sairaala Mehil•inen Helsinki)
Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 17
Tel:  (10) 414 0112 (Appointments and information)
The Helsinki Mehil•inen Hospital is a high-quality and comprehensive private hospital that provides individual patient care in all specialized fields.
• Mehil•inen was founded in Helsinki in the beginning of the twentieth century. Having grown and expanded along the years since then, it includes today medical centers and clinics in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, Turku, Salo, H•meenlinna, Lahti, Kuopio, Tampere, Jyv•skyl•, Vaasa and Oulu, as well as hospitals in Helsinki, Turku, H•meenlinna, Lahti, Tampere, Jyv•skyl•, Kuopio and Vaasa. Seventeen medical centers are now in operation, and differ from our clinics in that they provide a wider range of healthcare services. Some clinics, which are smaller in size, specialize in providing corporate healthcare services.
DESTINATION HEALTH INFO FOR TRAVELERS
AIDS/HIV: The prevalence of HIV adults in Finland is estimated at 0.1 percent. This is well below France (0.4%), Italy (0.5%) and Spain (0.6%). (Source:www.Avert.org)
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with another person’s body fluids or blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.
Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.
Hepatitis: There is very low incidence of hepatitis A in Finland, but nonimmune travelers should consider hepatitis A vaccine for added protection. Outbreaks of this disease occasionally occur, even in developed countries. All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic but levels are unclear. Sporadic cases may occur but go unrecognized or unreported. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, especially swine, and deer may serve as a viral reservoirs. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at <2%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a low level with a prevalence of <0.2% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Influenza: Influenza is transmitted from November through March. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months.
Lyme Disease: This disease is reported in brushy and forested areas, April through October, in the southern coastal regions and Aland Islands at elevations below 1,500 meters. All travelers who engage in hiking, camping, or similar outdoor activities in rural wooded regions of endemic areas should take measures to prevent tick bites. Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• A single 200-mg dose of doxycycline is effective in preventing Lyme disease if taken within 72 hours of being bitten by an infected tick. (Reference: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/345/2/79).
Other Diseases/Outbreaks: Cryptosporidiosis: Eurosurveillance report the first foodborne outbreak caused by Cryptosporidium parvum in Finland. The outbreak occurred among personnel of the Public Works Department in Helsinki, who had eaten in the same canteen. 72 persons fell ill with diarrhoea, none was hospitalised. Four faecal samples obtained from 12 ill persons were positive for Cryptosporidium. The vehicle of infection could not be identified with certainty but a salad mixture was suspected.
• Puumala hantavirus infection (causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome; acquired by inhalation of aerosolised excreta of rodents; most recent outbreak in 2008)
• Pogosta disease is a viral disease caused by a mosquito-borne alphavirus and large human outbreaks have emerged in Finland every seven years. After a major outbreak in 2002 an epidemic was expected to take place in 2009. Data from the National Infectious Disease Registry showed a small outbreak in humans in 2009 with a total of 105 reported cases but the seven-year cycle did not recur as anticipated.
Symptoms include fever, rash and arthritis. Clinically similar diseases are found in Sweden (Ockelbo disease) and in Russia (Karelian fever). The majority of clinical cases occur in Finland during August and September when the primary vectors, summer mosquito species Culex and Culiseta, are abundant. The incidence of Pogosta disease has been highest in the eastern parts of Finland in recent decades.
Outbreaks of Pogosta disease have thus far emerged every seven years since the first outbreak was noted in 1974, and the cause for this phenomenon is yet to be discovered. Tetraonid birds such as grouse, might contribute to this pattern.
The last major epidemic in Finland took place in 2002 with almost 600 reported cases and it was anticipated that an outbreak would occur again in 2009. Data from the National Infectious Disease Registry showed a small outbreak in humans in 2009 with a total of 105 reported cases but the seven-year cycle did not recur as anticipated.
Read more: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/Eid/vol10no5/03-0689.htm)
• Diphtheria (mostly imported from countries in the former Soviet Union)
• Listeriosis (Many patients elderly people with underlying illnesses who consumed contaminated vacuum-packed cold-smoked or cold-salted fish products)
Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE): There is a risk of TBE in some areas of the country below 1,400 meters elevation. About 20 to 40 cases are reported annually. The areas affected are the Åland Archipelago, around the cities of Turku, Kokkola and Lappeenranta, and a small island close to the city of Helsinki. (Eurosurveillance: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2004/040715.asp) The transmission season varies, however, ticks are most active during early spring to late autumn (March to November). A TBE vaccine is available in Canada and Europe, but is recommended only for those who will have prolonged or intense exposure (e.g., hiking or camping for 2-3 weeks or more) in rural endemic areas.
• Travelers should take measures to prevent tick bites. Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Low risk. Tap water is potable. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.
Tularemia: An outbreak of tularemia, mostly in farmers, was reported in 2000 in the North Western region. The main animal reservoirs for tularemia are rabbits and small rodents. The disease may be acquired by direct contact with animals or by mosquito or tick bites.