Only a few cases of severe animal diseases in Finland in 2009


<p>A total of 67 cases of suspected severe animal diseases, or diseases under regulatory eradication, were reported to Evira's Animal Health Control in 2009. Of the reported suspicions, 16 pertained to fish and 14 to companion animals. Reported suspicions regarding sheep and goats, pigs, poultry and horses totalled less than ten for each species. The animal disease status remained good in Finland – only a few of the suspected diseases were verified in further analyses.</p>

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) and bacterial kidney disease (BKD) were found in several fish farms and scrapie was detected in one goat. One wild bat was diagnosed rabid.

The most frequently suspected contagious disease was rabies, which was suspected in 14 companion animals. Other commonly suspected diseases included swine vesicular disease (SVD), Newcastle disease (ND) in poultry and equine infectious anaemia (EIA) in horses. Seventeen reports concerned a severe cattle disease, with anthrax and mad cow disease (BSE) both suspected in four cases. Three herds of cattle were examined for foot and mouth disease and blue tongue. All the suspicions were proven false in further analyses, i.e. no disease was diagnosed.

The number of suspected animal diseases remained on par with the previous years. A total of 64 suspicions were reported in 2008 and in 2007 the number was 53.

Suspected severe animal diseases must be reported to a veterinarian
The Finnish Animal Disease Act defines an animal disease as a disease or an infection that can be transmitted directly or indirectly from one animal to another or to people. Animal diseases are in the Act classified to highly contagious diseases, dangerous diseases, controlled diseases and other diseases. Highly contagious, dangerous and controlled animal diseases are diseases under regulatory eradication.

If the owner of the animal suspects that the animal is suffering from an animal disease under regulatory eradication, he must report this suspicion to an official veterinarian, primarily to the municipal veterinarian. The municipal veterinarian will report the suspicion further in the official chain. Evira receives information about suspected animal diseases mostly from the provincial veterinarians.

When a suspected animal disease is reported, Evira issues instructions for required sampling and any other action that may be necessary. The samples are in most cases analysed in Evira's laboratories. So-called restrictive regulations are often imposed on the farm pending analyses, to prevent the animals from being moved away from the farm and the infection from spreading to other farms.

The purpose of animal disease control is to detect infectious diseases at an as early stage as possible to stop the spreading of the disease in time and retain the disease status good also in future.

The investigation of animal disease suspicions is part of the preparedness system maintained for eradication of animal diseases. Evira arranges every year at the beginning of February a veterinary preparedness symposium to provide special training to specifically appointed preparedness veterinarians.

For more information, please contact:
Sirpa Kiviruusu, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24216, +358 (0) 400 920 503


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