All minks at avian flu infected farms to be culled

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The Finnish Food Authority ordered to cull all minks at fur farms with diagnosed avian influenza infections, said an official press release on Tuesday.

The authority also takes into account the view of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in this regard.

The decisions to put down foxes and raccoon dogs, however, will still be made on a case-by-case basis.

Mink is an especially problematic species when it comes to avian influenza infections as minks’ upper respiratory tracts contain receptors that can bind to both avian and human influenza viruses, which makes minks sensitive to infections caused by both types of influenza.

“Minks can therefore be more effective than other mammals as an intermediate host for avian influenza, enabling the virus to mutate more effectively into a form that will infect humans. To prevent such variants of the virus, it is important to put down all minks at infected fur farms,” said the authority in the press release.

With regard to decisions on putting down foxes and raccoon dogs, the Finnish Food Authority may order all or some of the foxes and raccoon dogs at a fur farm to be put down.

This decision is impacted by the extent and intensity of the symptoms of avian influenza at the farm. It is also possible that no immediate euthanasia order will be issued for the animals at a farm if symptoms and increased mortality have stopped at the farm.

However, the restrictions on fur farms imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency and the measures to prevent the spread of the disease will remain in force at all the farms where avian influenza has been detected.

If some animals at an infected farm have not been ordered to be put down, additional samples will be taken repeatedly from the animals at those farms to monitor the infection situation. Euthanasia decisions may be extended later on the basis of the results.

So far, the Finnish Food Authority has issued euthanasia orders for the animals of three fur farms. Preparations for new euthanasia orders are continuing this week.

The authority, however, did not disclose the name of the fur farms that have been issued euthanasia orders.

Animal owners have the right to claim compensation from state funds for animals put down by an order issued by the Finnish Food Authority. The amount of compensation is still undetermined.

Avian influenza had been diagnosed at twenty fur farms by the end of July. Samples from four farms are currently being analysed.

On July 25, the authority earmarked more areas as avian influenza infected zone following expansion of the infection of the disease to the new regions.

Earlier, the authority on July 21 established an infected zone to prevent further spread of the disease.

  •  avian influenza


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