It is important to adhere to vaccination recommendations with cats and dogs – rabies found in Russian Karelia

5.9.2011

<p>For the first time after two decades, rabies has been found near the Finnish territory in Russian Karelia. In order to prevent the propagation of the disease and to protect people, it is important that cats and dogs are vaccinated according to an appropriate schedule. Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira hopes to receive a large number of samples of small predators from Eastern Finland for rabies analyses so as to establish the status of the disease in small predators.</p>

Rabies has been detected in a cow grazing outdoors in the Russian Karelia on the last week of August. The area lies some 150 km from the Finnish border. Rabies has not been found in Karelia at such a close distance from Finland in more than 20 years. The Russian authorities continue their investigations in the area. No information has been received on the extent of the rabies infection in the area. Prior to this rabies has been detected south of the Leningrad province.

Cats and dogs should be vaccinated particularly in Eastern Finland
Evira reminds owners to have their dogs vaccinated against rabies. Dogs used to hunt cave animals shall be vaccinated every year and other hunting dogs as well as K-9 dogs every two years. Evira recommends that all other dogs as well as free ranging cats be kept on a regular vaccination schedule. The rabies case found in Russian Karelia increases the risk of the disease propagating also to Finland and for this reason it is important that all dogs and free ranging cats are vaccinated particularly in Eastern Finland.

Hunters in Eastern Finland encouraged to send animals for analysis
Evira examines wild animals and other animals displaying suspicious symptoms for rabies. Samples of small predators received from hunters are necessary to monitor the rabies-free status. At present it is extremely important that samples be sent to Evira from Northern Karelia and other parts of Eastern Finland to be analysed for rabies. In addition to rabies analyses, the animals are also examined to determine the immunity given by the vaccination baits distributed in the southeast border area every spring and autumn. This year the autumn campaign will be implemented at the turn of September and October.

Report suspicious behaviour in animals
Any sightings of strangely behaving foxes, raccoon dogs, wolves or other predators should be reported to the municipal or provincial veterinary officers.

For more information, please contact
Vaccinations: 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
Diagnostics of rabies: Tiina Nokireki, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 50 413 1687

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