Hospital workers in Denmark and Norway test positive for virus
Employees at hospitals in Norway and Denmark have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, potentially exposing well over a hundred patients to infection.
Oslo University Hospital announced on Friday afternoon that one of its employees had tested positive, more than a week after coming back from a holiday in northern Italy.
Then on Saturday, Aarhus University Hospital reported that one of its employees had tested positive for the virus, adding that it had quarantined 30 people with whom the employee had been in contact.
"We are extremely certain that the employee was not infected at the hospital, but instead brought the infection from Northern Italy," Bjørn Atle Bjørnbeth, administrative director at Oslo University Hospital told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Friday.
The Aarhus hospital worker had returned this week from a medical conference in Munich, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported.
"We are currently investigating where the person has been in recent days to find out who he has been in contact with, and that work is continuing this morning," Anne Hempel-Jørgensen, from the Danish Patient Safety Authority told the newspaper.
The main administrative building at Oslo University Hospital. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Norwegian health worker is believed to have been in contact with over 100 co-workers and patients at the hospital's eye clinic, who tend to be elderly, making them especially vulnerable.
The employee tested negative to the virus after first reporting symptoms on Tuesday. Four other employees in the clinic, are now being tested for the virus, after experiencing difficulties breathing.
According to Lars Østergaard, Aarhus University Hospital's head doctor, the Danish health worker had been around patients for three days before he tested positive.
Allan Randrup Thomsen, a professor specialising in viral infections at Copenhagen University, told the Berlingske newspaper that it was "unfortunate from an infection perspective", that the person had interacted with others for so long before his illness was detected.
"This is significant and there is a risk of sickness among those he has met," he said.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has so far confirmed six cases of the virus. While the Danish Health Authority has confirmed three.