Distribution area of rabies vaccine baits to be expanded


<p>Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and the Department of Food and Health at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are planning to expand the distribution area of rabies vaccine baits for wild predators into North Karelia and to increase the width of the current distribution area. The objective is to prevent rabies from spreading to Finland from Russia. In addition to the regulatory bait vaccination campaigns of wild predators, an important element of preventing the propagation of rabies and protecting people is to have all cats and dogs appropriately vaccinated against the disease.</p>

Rabies is in Finnish animal health legislation classified as a severe animal disease subject to a regulatory eradication programme. The primary vectors of the disease include wild predators, such as foxes and raccoon dogs, as well as domestic cats and dogs. Rabies spreads particularly by biting.

The vaccination of small predators is the most important weapon in the eradication of rabies in wild animals. The current vaccination programme covers a 20 km wide zone in the border area, from Pyhtää to the height of Värtsilä in Tohmajärvi. The vaccine baits are distributed in the wilderness every spring and autumn.

Evira has started investigations on possibilities to obtain extra vaccine lots to Finland this autumn. The objective is to expand the current vaccine distribution area northward in North Karelia and to increase the current width of the distribution zone from 20 km to 40 km from the eastern border.

Part of the funding for the fight against rabies is obtained from the European Union. Finland will apply for more funding for the expansion of the vaccine distribution area. The objective is to keep rabies out of Finland.No information about new cases of rabies has been received from the Russian Karelia since the case reported on the last week of August.

For more information, please contact

Distribution of vaccine baits to small predators:
Ulla-Maija Kokkonen, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 50 5262065, Liisa Kaartinen, Head of Research Unit, tel. +358 40 840 7364

Vaccination of dogs and cats:
Karoliina Alm-Packalen, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 40 486 0052

Examination of small predators:
Marja Isomursu, Researcher, tel. +358 40 512 1248

Anti-rabies efforts:
Tiia Tuupanen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 489 3348

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