Spring-time aerial spreading of rabies vaccine to start


<p>This spring aerial spreading of rabies vaccine baits for small predators will start along the south-eastern border on 26.4.2010. According to plans, the spreading of baits is to be completed within two weeks. The flights are scheduled to occur daily between 6 am and 10 pm. The purpose of this project is to prevent the possible spreading of forest rabies to Finland.</p>

During aerial spreading, a total of 80 000 vaccine baits will be dropped along the south-eastern border in a 20-30 km wide area extending from Tohmajärvi at the latitude of Värtsilä to Virolahti and further along the southern coast to Pyhtää. The total airdrop programme is 5000 km², including 1000 km² of water areas.

Vaccine baits used for aerial spreading are brown pieces with a strong smell of fish extract, approx. 5 x 4.5 x 1.5 cm in size and about 30 grams in weight. The vaccine comprises attenuated rabies viruses not hazardous to animals.

Baits found in the terrain must not be touched, and if a person collects vaccine on the mucous membranes of their mouth and eyes or in open wounds, the contaminated areas are to be carefully washed with water and soap, and as a precautionary measure the person should contact a health care centre.

Predators are monitored continuously for rabies. Any sightings of strangely behaving raccoon dogs, foxes or other predators should be reported to the municipal or provincial veterinary officer, or to the police, who will forward the animal to the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira for examination.

In addition to suspiciously behaving animals found in the field and sent to Evira, the occurrence of rabies and the effectiveness of the vaccine baits are also monitored by examining small predators, particularly in the airdrop programme area. The authorities hope that samples of any foxes or raccoon dogs killed by hunters or found dead in and near the area will be sent for follow-up examination. The samples are sent to the Evira's Research Unit of Fish and Game Health in Oulu. The examinations are free of charge.

More information on Rabies (in Finnish):
www.evira.fi > Eläimet ja terveys > Eläintaudit > Rabies

Information on sending small predators:
www.evira.fi > Research on animal diseases and food > Animal Diseases Research > Packaging and sending instructions > Sending small predators

For more information, please contact:
Miia Jakava-Viljanen, Section Head, Veterinary Virology Research Unit, tel. +358 (0) 50 351 0308
Miia Kauremaa, Senior Officer, Animal Health and Welfare Unit, tel. +358 (0) 400 318 510


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