Animal disease status remained good in Finland in 2011
Avian infectious bronchitis of poultry was detected in Finland last year after an interval of several years. The disease form, which clinically manifests itself as severe respiratory symptoms and reduced egg laying, was found particularly in hobby poultry farms.
Mild symptoms caused by the virus that is closely related to the vaccine virus were found also in commercial farms, in both laying hens and meat chickens. Poultry vaccination campaigns against avian infectious bronchitis have not been carried out in Finland for tens of years.
Animal disease reporting system as basis
Early detection of several animal diseases relies on the animal disease reporting system, which requires veterinarians and owners to report to the authorities any symptoms indicating an infectious animal disease.
In 2011, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira received a total of 133 direct reports of suspected cases of animal diseases under regulatory eradication. Most of the reports pertained to changed behaviour giving rise to suspicion of e.g. rabies, or to sudden deaths without any other clear cause. All reported suspicions of animal diseases were investigated to verify that they were not diseases under regulatory eradication or other highly infectious diseases.
In addition to the data obtained from the reporting system, Evira maintains animal disease monitoring systems based on e.g. samples collected from animal farms, slaughterhouses and dairies in order to determine the disease status.
New threats are prepared for
In 2011, preparations had to be made also against new threats from nearby areas. With African swine fever continuing to spread in Russia, a decision was made to step up sampling for this disease, focusing particularly on farmed and wild boars in southeast and east Finland. Breeding animals were also included in the monitoring programme as of the beginning of 2012.
In the autumn of 2011, Evira participated in the African swine fever simulation exercise organised jointly by the Nordic countries, and contingency measures have been continued in collaboration with the Nordic and Baltic countries also in 2012.
Preparedness and prevention level had to be increased also with respect to rabies. When rabies was found in cows in the Russian Karelian area of Pryazha in August 2011, Finland more than doubled wild animal vaccination campaigns on the Finnish side of the border. The aerial distribution area of rabies vaccine baits was extended from south to north in the direction of the eastern border as well as in width. A total of 513 samples were analysed within the scope of the rabies monitoring programme; all were found to be free from the disease. The vaccinations of wild animals will be continued also in the upcoming years to guarantee the disease-free status of Finland.
More information about the animal disease status of Finland is provided in the annual report Animal diseases 2011 (in Finnish): http://www.evira.fi/portal/fi/evira/julkaisut/?a=view&productId=330