Evira has confirmed equine influenza in Finland – vaccinations against equine influenza are recommended


<div>Respratory tract symptoms, in horses in Finland, characterized by fever, a clear nasal discharge, coughing and fever has been confirmed as equine influenza. The first samples to Evira arrived on 4 December. The laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of the influenza A virus in one stable in southern Finland. According to veterinarians, symptoms in keeping with those of equine influenza are found in stables in different parts of the country. </div>

Equine influenza is a contagious viral disease of horses. It spreads either directly from one horse to the other or via the secretions (nasal discharge, saliva) of infected horses. The incubation period for the disease is about 24 - 48 hours. The diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms and on the detection of the virus or antibodies. Samples for isolation of the virus have to be taken at an early stage of the disease. When there is suspicion of influenza a swab from the nostrils is taken for viral detection or paired sera samples for the detection of antibodies.

Vaccination of horses is an efficient way of restricting the spread of equine influenza and even in preventing epidemics. The best protection is gained by vaccinating the whole horse population (e.g. the whole stable). The protection against equine influenza achieved with the vaccines is short term, which means that in order to maintain sufficient protection the horses should be vaccinated regularly and in the case of an epidemic even at three-month intervals. A vaccinated horse can still spread the disease, even if it doesn’t fall ill itself.

For more information, please contact:
Senior Researcher Christine Ek-Kommonen, Veterinary Virology Research Unit, tel. 050 5143926, christine.ek-kommonen at-merkki-kapea.gifevira.fi
Veterinary Officer Karoliina Alm-Packalén, Animal Virology Research Unit (vaccinations), tel. 040 486 0052, karoliina.alm-packalen at-merkki-kapea.gifevira.fi
Senior Researcher Anita Huovilainen, Veterinary Virology Research Unit (viral analysis), tel. 050 544 1981, anita.huovilainen at-merkki-kapea.gifevira.fi

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