Four new cases of infectious Bronchitis (IB) in chickens have been detected on non-professional chicken farms in Finland. The farms are located in Ylöjärvi, Ilmajoki, Vimpeli and Akaa, all in western Finland. Samples from these farms have been analysed because poultry has been sold or purchased between them and the infected farm detected last week. Analyses performed by Evira confirmed the infection. Poultry must not be taken to or from the infected farms. Restrictions remain in force until it can be ascertained that risk of further infection has been eliminated. Due to these and previous cases of IB, Evira has launched investigations into the possible occurrence of the infection on other poultry farms.
IB causes respiratory symptoms in chickens; the birds lay fewer eggs which are of lower quality e.g. the shells are very thin. If farmers suspect that their birds have IB or any other contagious animal disease, they must contact the local municipal veterinarian without delay. Poultry farmers are also obliged to notify the municipal veterinarian if any of the following symptoms appear in poultry: higher mortality rate, slower growth rate, lower consumption of feed and water, chicken laying fewer eggs, or showing any indication of problems of the central nervous system. All of the symptoms mentioned may be indicative of other highly contagious poultry diseases, such as avian influenza or Newcastle disease. IB cannot affect humans.
To facilitate the thorough examination of any cases of infection, it is essential that all poultry farmers are registered. All poultry farmers must register with the local agricultural authorities by the end of April 2011. The obligation to register also applies to non-professional chicken farms and owners of single birds.
As in previous years, during the spring migration period poultry must be protected from any contact with wild birds. Pursuant to a Decree by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, poultry must either be kept indoors or the outdoor area they have access to must be protected e.g. with a sufficiently close meshed net between 1 March and 31 May. These measures, devised to protect poultry from avian influenza, simultaneously protect birds from other contagious diseases as well.
Due to cases of IB disease, it is recommended that chickens are not transferred between farms before the extent of the disease’s spread has been analysed.
Päivikki Perko-Mäkelä, Researcher, Production Animal Section, Evira,
tel. +358 02077 25413, päivikki.perko-makela evira.fi
Heli Kallio, Researcher, Production Animal Section, Evira
tel. +358 50 405 5776, heli.kallio evira.fi
Miia Kauremaa, Senior Inspector, Animal Health Section, Evira
tel. +358 400 318 510, miia.kauremaa evira.fi
Hannele Nauholz, health care veterinarian, The Association for Animal Disease Prevention ETT
tel. +358 6 412 6999, hannele.nauholz ett.fi
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