Only a few cases of severe animal diseases in Finland in 2010


<p>A total of 59 cases of suspected severe animal diseases, or diseases under regulatory eradication, were reported to Evira's Animal Health Control in 2010. Of the reported suspicions, 7 pertained to fish and 27 to companion animals. Reported suspicions regarding sheep and goats, pigs and horses totalled less than ten for each species. There were 11 cases in which a severe animal disease was suspected in cattle; in poultry no suspicions of diseases were reported. The animal disease status remained good in Finland and no new animal diseases were identified. Only a few of the suspected diseases were verified in further analyses.</p>

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) was found in one fish farm and bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in six fish farms. Scrapie was detected in three individual sheep, each on different farm. American foulbrood was detected in bee farms.

The most frequently suspected contagious disease was rabies, which was suspected in 29 companion animals. Other commonly suspected diseases included swine vesicular disease (SVD), which was thought of as the culprit in five cases, and bluetongue in cattle, reported as a suspicion in four cases. All the suspicions that concerned cattle diseases were proven false in further analyses, i.e. no disease was diagnosed and bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) could be considered eradicated from Finland.

The number of suspected animal diseases remained on par with the previous years. A total of 67 suspicions were reported in 2009 and in 2008 the number was 64.

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 jointly referred to as 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.

Evira also draws up annual plans for the monitoring of animal diseases under regulatory eradication. The monitoring programmes are based on sampling focused on animals, which are the most likely to carry an infection, or in which an infection would cause the maximum risk of the disease spreading to other farms.

Animal diseases are also controlled within the scope of regulatory health control programmes, and every time a veterinarian visits a farm or animals are inspected in a slaughterhouse.

For more information, please contact: Miia Kauremaa, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24215, +358 (0) 400 318 510

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