Avian influenza, or bird flu, has been detected in wild mammals for the first time this year in Finland. Samples collected in August showed the disease was present in a fox in Halsua and an otter in Evijärvi, both in the west of Finland.
According to the Finnish Food Authority, these findings were not surprising but rather expected.
“Avian influenza-infected birds are still found in the wild, and these are consumed by small predators. Therefore, this discovery does not raise any concerns or warrant any specific precautionary measures,” commented Terhi Laaksonen, the head of the Animal and Welfare Division at the Finnish Food Authority.
The authority said that hunting of small predators can continue, but it’s important to remember proper hygiene and to take precautions when handling dead animals.
The Finnish Food Authority also reminded people that allowing dogs and especially cats to roam freely in areas with a high risk of infection can pose a risk.
Avian influenza has been detected in individual wild animals in Finland in the two previous years as well. Last year, the disease was found in a lynx and an otter, and the year before that, two foxes were infected.
Source : YLE