Cooperation to prevent spread of poultry IB to production farms


<p>Infectious bronchitis of poultry, IB, has been found on several hobbyflocks in Finland. In the last few weeks, blood samples have been taken at approximately 30 farms that have been in contact with infected farms. A large proportion of the samples have shown antibodies to the disease, which demonstrates that it has spread more widely than originally assumed. Moreover, investigations on the spread of the disease have revealed that symptoms indicative of IB may have appeared previously. It is therefore highly probable that IB has been present in Finland for a longer period.</p>

When the first case of IB was confirmed in April, it was assumed that the disease had only recently arrived in Finland. Restrictive regulations banning the transfer of poultry were therefore imposed to prevent the spread of the disease. In the current situation, since restrictive orders on individual farms will not limit the spread of the disease, the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira is lifting these orders. The Animal Diseases Act does not classify IB of chickens as a disease requiring legislative control in Finland, meaning that continuing action by the authorities would have required a legislative amendment.

Various parties are making joint efforts to keep chicken production farms free of IB. Evira, the Association for Animal Disease Prevention ETT and the Finnish Poultry Association, are cooperating closely in order to avoid the introduction of laborious and expensive vaccinations in commercial units i.e. farms producing chicken meat and eggs.

Evira is monitoring the disease status of production farms, by analysing IB antibodies in samples taken for surveys of avian influenza and Newcastle disease. Subject to a fee, Evira is also analysing both IB antibodies and samples for the virus, whenever farm owners would like to know about the disease status of their flocks. If your birds develop symptoms, you should contact your municipal veterinarian to identify the cause.

Evira would like to remind farmers that disease protection is vital to all farms, irrespective of the line of production. You should only purchase poultry from farms on which the state of health of all animals is known. On farms, all contact between poultry and wild birds must be prevented. The virus may be transmitted from one farm to another not only via birds, but also through tools and equipment, clothes and footwear.

For more information, please contact:
Analysis of samples:
Christine Ek-Kommonen, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 50 514 3926 or Niina Tammiranta, Researcher, tel. +358 40 4893377

On the disease and how to control it:
Evira: Jenni Kiilholma, Senior Inspector, tel. +358 20 77 24268
ETT: Hannele Nauholz, tel. +358 6 412 6999

Related Categories: