Shelter poultry during spring
The reason for prohibiting free grazing for poultry is that bird flu cases have been detected around the world during the winter. In particular H5 or H7 type viruses with low pathogenicity have been found on several farms even in Europe. A low pathogenic virus can mutate into a highly pathogenic virus with time as it circulates in poultry. Low pathogenic avian influenza viruses have also been detected in wild birds in Finland, but not in poultry.
The protection measures for poultry aim at protecting the poultry from avian influenza, but the same protective measures also protect the birds from other contagious diseases such as Newcastle disease (caused by the PMV-1 virus) or salmonella. Both are found in wild birds in Finland, the PMV-1 virus was last found in urban pigeons 2009. Newcastle disease was also detected 2008 in pet pigeons in six different localities. Therefore poultry and pet birds have to be protected from disease also during other times of the year.
For additional information:
Senior Veterinary Officer Sirpa Kiviruusu, tel. 020 77 24216, 0400 920 503