Aerial distribution of rabies vaccine baits starts on south-eastern border


<p>Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira starts the aerial distribution of rabies vaccine baits on the south-eastern border on the 9th of September. A total of 180 000 vaccine baits for small predators will be dropped during a period of about 5 weeks from the starting day. The purpose of the annual vaccine bait drop campaign is to prevent forest rabies found in wild animals from spreading to Finland.</p>

The baits are distributed on the south-eastern border in a ca. 40-km wide zone extending from Ilomantsi to Virolahti, and further in a 20-km wide zone along the southern coast from the eastern border all the way to Pyhtää. The total aerial distribution area is ca. 10 000 square-kilometres. Flights will be conducted on a daily basis between 7 and 21 o'clock for about five weeks.

The vaccine baits are brown pieces approximately 5 x 4.5 x 1.5 cm in size and 30 g in weight, with a strong smell of fish extract. The vaccine comprises attenuated rabies viruses and is contained in the bait in liquid form inside a foil capsule.

Leave baits be in the wild

The baits are dropped from the airplane at intervals of 60 - 70 metres. Baits are not dropped in courtyards, population centres or water bodies. Baits that fall near habitation can be moved, using protective gloves, to the edge of a forest or some other safe location.

"Baits should be left be in the wild so that the small predators will not refrain from eating them due to human smell. If a large number of baits is found within a very small area or in the vicinity of residential buildings, Evira should be informed about it", recommends Senior Researcher Tiina Nokireki from Evira.

Keep dogs away from vaccine baits

Dogs should be kept away from the vaccine baits, because some dogs have manifested vomiting and nausea after eating vaccine capsules. Any adverse effects should be reported to the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea by submitting an adverse reaction notification. It is safe to pick berries and mushrooms in the area.

If the vaccine comes into contact with the mucous membranes of your mouth, nose or eyes, rinse the affected area with plenty of water for 15 minutes. If you get the vaccine on an open wound or broken skin, was the wound with plenty of water and soap for 15 minutes and then clean with 70 proof alcohol. You should also contact a health care centre.

Send small predators for follow-up examinations

It is important that all foxes, raccoon dogs and other small predators that are killed by hunters or found dead in or near the bait vaccination area are sent to Evira for follow-up examination. Evira examines the animal samples to monitor the coverage of vaccine protection and also any occurrences of rabies. The samples are to be sent to Evira's Production Animal and Wildlife Research Unit in Oulu. These examinations are free of charge and the samples can be sent using Matkahuolto parcel services, also free of charge.

Any sightings in the wild of raccoon dogs, foxes or other predators that behave strangely shall be reported to the municipal or provincial veterinary officer or to the police, who will forward the animal to Evira.

Finland has been a rabies-free country since 1991.

Read more about:
Adverse reactions caused by veterinary medicines (Fimea)

For more information, please contact:
Tiina Nokireki, Senior Researcher, tel. + 358 50 413 1687 (aerial distribution and rabies diagnostics)
Tiia Tuupanen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 489 3348 (rabies prevention)
Marja Isomursu, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 40 512 1248 (examinations of small predators)



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