Finland’s geographically remote location, the relatively low volume of animal transports and long distances between animal farms help to maintain a good animal disease status. In most cases, the most serious animal diseases are detected in other countries before Finland, which leaves time to improve preparedness and disease protection. Due to the often harsh winter weather conditions, animals are usually provided with a well insulated animal shelter that can largely prevent contact with wildlife, for example. Production animals are kept completely separate from hobby animals of the same species.
The European Commission’s Animal Disease Notification System (ADNS) is updated weekly on the situation in Europe as a whole. The system monitors the presence of 54 animal diseases in both production and wildlife in European countries. Observations are available retroactively by animal species and country. The number of recorded cases increased considerably from the beginning of the decade to 2017. This is due to a few rapidly spreading diseases. In other European countries, the most frequent diseases have been bluetongue, African swine fever (ASF) and high pathogenic avian influenza. Nearly 93% of the findings for the period January to November 2017 are related to these diseases. Bluetongue has not been detected in Finland since the 1960s and African swine fever has never been observed. Effective disease control efforts are keeping Finland free from these diseases.
Number of cases registered in the European Animal Disease Notification System (ADNS) by country
The 2016 figures for Finland relate to the highly pathogenic (H5N8) avian influenza, which was first detected in wild birds. It was also diagnosed in a bird farm in Åland. The restricted zone established around the bird farm was cancelled in March 2017. All findings from 2017 are cases of avian influenza in wild birds. The influenza has not spread to poultry. Apart from avian influenza, Finland remained free of easily spreading animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, swine fever and Newcastle disease. African swine fever continued to spread in neighbouring areas, but the disease has not been detected in Finland. Finland remained free from animal diseases regarded as strategically important.
In 2016, new cases of salmonella were diagnosed on six cattle farms, three pig farms and seven poultry farms. The number of new cases decreased in cattle and pig farms, but increased in poultry farms. There was a total of 16 new cases of salmonella, compared to 21 in 2015. The prevalence of salmonella clearly remained at target level, below 1%.
Infectious IHN (infectious haematopoietic necrosis of fish) of salmonids was first detected in Finland at the end of November 2017.
Finnish Food Saftey Authority Evira (2017) Animal diseases in Finland 2016 (4/2017), Link to report
Photo in upper edge: Pixabay/Anne Leino