Avian influenza and Newcastle disease specialists meet in Helsinki


<p>The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira is organising a joint annual meeting of the European Union reference laboratories for avian influenza and Newcastle disease in Helsinki on 24–26 September 2013. The meeting will be attended by 70 invited specialists from EU member states, including specialists from Evira. The keynote speakers are prominent avian influenza and Newcastle disease researchers and specialists in diagnostics. <br /></p>

One of the topics to be discussed at the meeting will be the implementation of avian influenza monitoring programmes across the EU. Other topics include the current situation of avian influenza and Newcastle disease in the EU and worldwide. Furthermore, the requirements and diagnostic methods specified in the diagnostic manual will be reviewed.

The programme for the meeting has been prepared by the UK-based Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, AHVLA. The laboratory is an international reference laboratory for avian influenza approved by the EU, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Evira studies the occurrence of avian influenza and Newcastle disease
In cases where poultry shows unusually high mortality rates or symptoms of the disease, samples will always be examined for avian influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND). Evira examines samples from a few dozen poultry flocks every year. In 2012, Evira tested 3,223 blood samples for AI and 10,423 samples for ND.

The occurrence of AI in wild birds is studied by testing birds found dead or in poor condition in their natural environment. Dead or sick birds may be sent to Evira's Oulu facility for testing. Evira pays the costs of Matkahuolto parcel services. Samples should not be sent by regular post, and Evira does not pay for postal deliveries.

Avian influenza has not been found in Finland, but cases of Newcastle disease have been reported.

Additional information:
Christine Ek-Kommonen, Head of Section, Veterinary Virology Research Unit, tel. +358 50 514 39 26
Anita Huovilainen, Senior Researcher, Veterinary Virology Research Unit, tel. +358 50 544 1981

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