The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is reporting an pneumococcal disease outbreak in people working the shipyards in Vestnes municipality.


Since January this year, nine people working in the shipbuilding industry in Møre og Romsdal have been hospitalized with severe pneumococcal disease. These are confirmed with the same bacterial strain.

The patients have been treated and discharged. In addition, there are six unconfirmed cases that may be related to the outbreak.

Professions with an increased risk of pneumococcal disease are welders and laboratory personnel. A working environment where you work closely and with limited ventilation can contribute to increased infection pressure and increased risk of disease.

We know that certain types of work give rise to an increased risk of serious pneumococcal disease, and we are aware that there has been a similar outbreak in Europe earlier, says department director Didrik Vestrheim at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Local health authorities and the ship’s management have initiated information measures and are preparing the vaccination offer for the workers. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has prepared information letters in Norwegian, English, Polish and Italian on the outbreak and vaccination advice. This has been sent to the yard and the municipal health service for use in infection control work.

Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is a type of bacterium that causes pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, including ear infections and meningitis.

Officials say there is no reason to believe that the local population and others who are not exposed through the work are subject to increased risk of infection.


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